"Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress," is an exhibition of new work by Swiss-born, Paris-based artist Thomas Hirschhorn. This multilayered project explores the current world situation, permeated by military conflicts and violence, through the metaphor of camouflage, which has been adapted from battlefield uniform to street fashion statement.
Hirschhorn's installation asks, "What does it mean when a costume of war becomes a look or a style? Does it imply that conflict has become fashionable, or does it simply indicate mass indifference? Or does it reflect a militarization of the self in societies that are more and more competetive in every sphere of life?"
The conceptual leaping-off point for "Utopia, Utopia" is the prevalence of camouflage in contemporary culture and politics—as a style of dress on the streets of SoHo and as an emblem of battle in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the level of fashion, camouflage signifies toughness—an affectation that draws attention to the self. In contrast, soldiers wear camouflage to disappear, to better function within the group or army by removing themselves from view. Hirschhorn sees this as an allegory for the dystopia of current events, and takes this fashion trend to the extreme, creating a utopian world of equality whereby military camouflage becomes the clothing of everybody on earth.
"In camouflage, the artist has found an unlikely yet compelling expression of the complex and often intangible relations between global economy, politics, and power. Indeed, its endlessly repeatable, form-disrupting pattern servess as an apt symbol for the nightmare of a globalized cultural entropy where difference, and the potential for meaning, are pulverized into a homogeneous sprawl." - Nicholas Baume & Ralph Rugoff
(Thanks to Heather Ring for making me aware of this)
Images (except the first two, by Subtopia) : Artnews : Boston Phoenix
Related: Is Cloaking Technology for U.S. Infantry Warfighters Finally Possible?
March 10–May 13, 2006:
CCA Wattis Institute Presents Thomas Hirschhorn, "Utopia, Utopia = One World, One War, One Army, One Dress"