British Navy Dazzle Camoflauge Norman Wilkinson WWII

Dazzle Batteries

Here is a quick sketch I made based on the ‘Dazzle Camoflauge’ conceived by marine painter, Norman Wilkinson, used to throw attacking WWII U-Boats off by challenging the eye of the attacker and ‘Dazzling’ them in order to make them lose their reference points of critical zones on the ship. Whether this helped camoflauge the ship is debatable, however the breaking up of the outline does cause the eye to pass over by fracturing the profile of the ship and making it less recognisable to the human eye. This technique of camoflauge is often found on the plains of Africa, where similarly, zebras are more likely to survive when they are not seen from a distance by predators. These wide-open spaces are where we rely on the profile of something to identify it, as was often the case with vessels navigating the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. For me it throws into question our perception and also the depiction of what we see in media, when silhouettes are challenged we rely on depth and contrasts of light in order to ascertain exactly what it is we are looking at, and perhaps we are subconsciously aware of what we are looking at but it is never really confirmed in our minds.