In Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face, technology reporter Robinson Meyer details an experiment in which he tried actually going about his day to day life in downtown Washington DC while wearing CV Dazzle, (previously on MeFi) makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition software. The technique is inspired by the old naval technique of dazzle camouflage, which sought not to conceal a ship, but to confuse viewers as to its size and heading. Similarly, CV Dazzle aims to confuse software by making your face look less like a face and more like a confusing collection of shapes. This proves to have unanticipated effects on how Robinson is perceived by humans as well, leading to insights about how our appearance signals our privilege and place in the social hierarchy, and how that can overlap or conflict with the digital wakes we leave.
Cuttlefish: Kings of Camouflage – (SLYT HD 53:26) PBS NOVA, April 2007. Wikipedia article, more images.
During my service in the Korean military, I worked for two years as special intelligence personnel for the NSA, learning first-hand how to extract information from defense targets. Now, as a designer, I am influenced by these experiences and I have become dedicated to researching ways to “articulate our unfreedom” and to continue the evolution of my own thinking about censorship, surveillance, and a free society.ZXX is a disruptive typeface designed by an ex-Korean intelligence officer to prevent automated text processing. ZXX Type Specimen Video. Project site offers a free download (.zip, 77 KB).
Jillian Mayer is a performance and visual artist concerned with new technology and the internet who frequently operates in the medium of viral video. In fact, you may already know her piece I Am Your Grandma (previously), which has been viewed several million times. Since "Grandma", she has tackled the digitization of human consciousness and remade (NSFW, brief nudity) La Jetee starring Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, a film which screened at Sundance and resulted in Mayer and frequent collaborator Lucas Leyva being collectively named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 new faces of independent film for 2012. Her latest piece is a YouTube makeup tutorial on how to use Dazzle camouflage to defeat facial recognition software.
After spending $5 billion dollars to develop the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), the US Army is abandoning the grey-green pixelated camouflage because it has routinely failed to hide soldiers from view in nearly every environment it has been tried in, and considers adopting the UCP "a colossal mistake" and a "fiasco". [more inside]
Invisible, Inc. Inside the evolving science of concealment.
Urban Camouflage deals with the question how to camouflage oneself and one’s identity in the urban space. Our costumes are inspired by the «ghillie suits», the military camouflage suit. It was an adventure to wear the suit in the stores because of the conflicts with the employees, the reaction of the customers and also to see the pretty well camouflage effect in a real situation.
Two artists that paint humans so that they blend into their surroundings: Liu Bolin and Emma Hack (click 'body art' and then 'exhibitions' to get into the image galleries)
Ellsworth Kelley, Bill Blass, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and a host of lesser known but equally talented painters, designers, sound engineers and actors served together during World War II in the Ghost Army – the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, a unit whose existence remained an official secret until 1996. German soldiers referred to them as the "Phantom Army," because one moment they were in one place, and the next, they were attacking their flanks or from the rear. Together, they made rubber tanks and fake Jeeps; their changing unit insignia were designed to fool spies and allied units alike. They recorded the sounds of Allied units building bridges or moving troops and broadcast them from special sound trucks, leading the Germans to conclude that the U.S. Army had more troops in more places than it did. "Guys drew, or painted, all the time," documenting their lives, the lives of their fellow soldiers, and that of the local populations in wartime Europe.
Octopus escaping through one inch hole. Octopus eats shark. Camouflaged octopus. Octopus attacks mini-sub. (Google videos)
Camouflaged and Walking octopuses Octopus marginatus and Octopus (Abdopus) aculeatus, that walk along the seafloor using two alternating arms and apparently use the remaining six arms for camouflage.
Invisibility cloak! "The idea is very simple. If you project background image onto the masked object, you can observe the masked object just as if it were virtually transparent". The Optical Camouflage page has more applications and video of a (nearly) invisible man. (First seen in Time's coolest of 2003)
Japanese create "invisible" cloak. Well, not really. Technically, just a two sided cloak, the front of which is a projector, and the back of which is a camera. Only works, one would imagine, if you're looking at a person straight on, and even then it would help if you were partially blind, or at the very least, raised in the wilderness & easily fooled by modern technology.
Shaggies - No, it's not a "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" costume, it only looks that way. Just the thing for the Dad or Grad on your list who wants to look like a shambling mound of leaves for that special occasion. Be sure to check their home page for a great group shot. (Even available for pets)