With their stacks upon stacks of random objects like boxes, bottles and other goods, perhaps there’s nowhere better to experiment with urban camouflage than a big-box retail store like IKEA, Home Depot or Costco. Inspired by snipers’ ‘ghillie suits’, urban camouflage performance artists Sabina Keric and Yvonne Bayer hide in plain sight in surprisingly effective costumes.
“The commercial space is a clean and untouched area. Usually there are no artistic activities. The customer expects nothing out of ordinary in a world of brands and price labels. Our project exceeds the limit and enters the world of commerce without any permission,” the duo writes on their website.
“We chose the big superstores because of the extreme range of goods, the flashing monitors and the large salesrooms. The camouflaged person blends into the surrounding. He or she can disappear for one moment and gets the possibility to merge with the supermarket to defend from the noise of commerce.”
The reaction from employees, store management and customers varied from laughter and delight to aversion and anger, with some not even noticing that anything was out of place. But surprisingly, most customers didn’t even blink an eye when a pile of boxes or leather gloves got up and began walking.
Of course, urban camouflage isn’t limited to shocking performances in retail stores. From cars painted to blend perfectly into their environments to soda machine suits designed to evade stalkers, urban camo ranges from serious artistic statements to the purely bizarre.
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Whether they be viewed as polemical or pragmatic, this latest in the tradition of creative urban camouflage is at least entertaining and arguably even practical.
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