patentschwarzlose

Disguise and Deception

A Mimetic Exchange of Strategies for Make Believe


publication

A special division of the German army called Tarnen und Täuschen (Disguise and Deception) occupies itself with rather curious affairs. The unit is dedicated to the research and development of camouflage technology and the fabrication of decoy weaponry - inflatable tanks, vehicles and imitation land mines. The militarisation of visual surroundings as practiced by the technicians at the base becomes a prism for the aesthetic considerations of ideological systems, and the reciprocal effects occurring between the two. In form of an image dialogue this publication examines particular sets of relations between aesthetics and ideology.


TEXT BY JOHAN FREDERIK HARTLE, ENGLISH
DESIGN BY GAËL PACCARD
20 X 27 CM, 78 PAGES AND 20 GATEFOLD PAGES,
71 COLOR PLATES, 1 B&W PLATES, SOFTCOVER WITH FLAPS
KODOJI PRESS, BADEN 2014, ISBN 978–3–03747–064–0
VAN ZOETENDAAL PUBLISHERS, AMSTERDAM 2014, ISBN 978-90-72532-26-8
Retail Price EUR €35
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SPECIAL EDITION OF 40 COPIES - HARDCOVER WITH A SIGNED AND NUMBERED DUSTJACKET

To Make Oneself Like Something Else

2014, interdisciplinary installation

video stillvideo stillvideo stillinstallation view

Low Standards / High Ideals

2013, video projection

video, displaying an almost imperceptibly breathing rubber landscape - shifting it's shape while slowly inflating

Pools

Pools

2012, interdisciplinary media installation, video projection, wall relief, dimensions variable

The video consists of footage that is gathered from a diverse variety of sources; it partly stems from surveillance cameras of hotels in earth quake regions, and partly from private persons, filming the pool in their yard. Recordings shared in forums for earth quake victims, showing a collection of swimming pools during the time of an earthquake. The pool as an ultimate attempt to control the element of water. Its, usually extremely efficient structure, is rendered futile and absurd for the same reasons that allow for its efficiency in the first place: its rigid means prevent any form of adaptation - but they cause an unequal confrontation instead. The collapsing concept of a swimming pool as a source for joy and relaxation however becomes its very own spectacle. Waves emerge where there should be non. They follow their own set of rules. Ripples and lines form grids and chaotic arrays. Dancing with - and mocking the architecture that was designed to contain them. The video is projected on a wall relief, which is mimicking the architecture of the different swimming pools. The relief aligns with the pools outlines. It enhances the video and results in a haptic, 3 dimensionality of the projection - hence, as the video progresses, those same elements disrupt the projection surface and collapse the illusion they had created moments before.

Time moves into one Direction - Memory into the other

2012, interdisciplinary installation


Traditional conceptualizations of war imply the spacial presence of both physical force and a striking visual appearance upon the battlefield. In contrast to such notions, contemporary theaters of war rely far more upon the ability to disappear, to bewilder, and to deceive. Where traditional tactics engage the direct application of mass towards the achievement of goals, the other (and often more effective) tactics resort to techniques of camouflage, remote action and artifice; décor, dress-up and disguise; the imitation of reality. In other words, techniques very much associated with the arts.

Such artistic means were adopted by one particular unit of the former East German army, Tarnen und Täuschen. Translating quite literally to "disguise and deception", this aptly named base had as its sole aim, the invention and construction of the techniques and materials of camouflage, decoy weaponry and other, essentially fake, military equipment. As a central stratagem, this meant the production of adaptations to new and changing environments of conflict. Being the only East German military unit to remain after the unification with West Germany, this army base soon found itself having to transform and adapt to a much different sociopolitical environment. Still existing within the now unified German military, Tarnen und Täuschen continues to function under a new set of conditions in the development of disguises and deceptions for present day warfare. Through her research into the history and present day operations of the Tarnen und Täuschen military unit, artist Anika Schwarzlose encountered a military division largely engaged with aesthetic considerations.

In her exhibition at KHM Gallery, Anika Schwarzlose presents a range of works, each probing from a different angle into the borderland of adaptation and impact, illusion and truth. Amongst diamond-shaped sculptural elements, that resemble radar reflectors, a series of videos is displayed, depicting official buildings - symbols of power and societal organization, which are juxtaposed with sheets of green - engaging a colour that is commonly used in the film industry to mark fields of filmed material designated for being cut out and replaced by fictitious content.

Core element of the show is a structure bordering on both sculpture and architecture. Initiated in homage to a 1926 monument to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg by German architect Mies van der Rohe, this work functions, in the spacial sense, to block ones field of vision whilst at the same time, through its use of camouflage material, to mimic the act of disappearance. Van der Rohe's original monument was destroyed by the army during the Nazi regime. Through its manifestation in consultation and collaboration with the Tarnen und Täuschen army unit, Schwarzlose's work forms a cycle of appearance and disappearance. This work thus manifests a paradoxical existence as disguised monument to a monument.



Emil Nilsson and Brian D. McKenna

A Rising Tide Lifts All The Boats

2012, interdisciplinary media installation at Transceiver show, Bemis Art Center, collaboration with Jonas Lund

As a site specific installation, conceived in the scope of the exhibition ʻTransceiverʼ, the piece is composed of a projection, an object and a print, all sent to the gallery by various means of transmission. Individual traders and sellers, which we found on different online market places, are creating images to advertise their products. We have collected some of those images, videos and products. They are recombined into a sculpture which tells a story about trading strategies and their inherent visual aesthetics. The sculpture is composed by the curator of the show, causing her to depart from her position as receiver and facilitator and take up an active key position in the process of art production.

This Too Shall Pass

2011, installation and process
collaboration with Jonas Lund

A photographic print is presented in a paper shredder. The piece is transmitted via live stream to this webpage: t2sp.net. Each time a visit on this website is recorded, the paper shredder is activated for a third of a second and tears a small piece of the print away. Once the print has been destroyed, it is replaced with the next one in the edition until the edition has been depleted.

Somewhere Else Before

2011, video installation - collectively created section of virtual space
collaboration with Jonas Lund

A collective video work, based upon crowd sourced video footage collected through somewhereelsebefore.com
Every time a new video is submitted it is added to the sequence, to form a large commonly created section of virtual space. A space without any fixed geographical location, but combined of many individual moments of spacial perception in many different peoples lives. An experience which is created simultaneously by many, over long distances and the duration of several weeks, but the result can only be witnessed in one spot - at the video booth in the gallery in where the piece is exhibited.

Backdrop

2011, installation, mixed media

"digital backdrops" are images that other photographers have created digitally: patterns like gradients, depictions of dramatic skies or resemblances of old stained linnen cloth, meant to be retouched into the background of a portrait, to give it a more atmospheric or nostalgic look. I have dragged these backdrops out into the world in front of the screen, printed them in different large formats and subjected them to different light sources and light temperatures.

Pieces of Sky

2011, website and projection
collaboration with Jonas Lund

The work is a participatory exploration of the relation between objects, images and semantics on the internet. We created a small platform that serves as our set up model, an engine constantly browsing the image sharing platform Flickr, extracting the latest photograph which is uploaded and tagged with "sky" and immediately publishing the result on the website colourfulpiecesofsky.com.

The outcome is a piece with forever changing its visual appearance. Sometimes subtle, sometimes radical changes which altogether reveal operational modes of communication, emerging semantics and image mediation strategies. Photographers all over the world are contributing content to create a shifting, and unpredictable, impermanent but ongoing visual experience. To participate visitors can take an image of the sky, upload it to their Flickr account and tag the image with "sky" the webpage updates every 5 seconds and always displays the latest image added.

Colour Traps

2010, inkjet print, publication

Similar to bug traps which employ the effect of a certain colour to lure in insects, I created constructions with the purpose to entrap a specific colour in a place. I started inventing images that tell about the conditions a colour would prefer to occur - rather then showing it, the images are evoking an idea of it. The series of photographs is accompanied by a one page publication that contains images of the 6 different traps and 6 short texts accompanying each image, quotes about very different understanding of colour. Those 6 conflicting approaches are so different, they eventually suggest a scenario in which colour can be seen as a metaphysical phenomenon.

Drone

2009, wax-print, 70×105cm, video

This work shows a number of attempts to build my own drone and send my camera into the sky. After some more or less successful try outs, a last version proved itself to be functioning, able to provide access to areas I am not allowed to photograph or film in.

Patent Schwarzlose

2009, installation, mixed media, publication

Patent Schwarzlose is an installation, that combines a wooden model of a machine gun, a video projection and an audible monologue plus a translation of it, projected on the ground. Another part of the work is a publication. The work circles around a namesake of mine and his invention.




Text from publication
Patent Schwarzlose M.07/12

“Did you ever google our last name?” my sister asks me. I have to deny, because I have never had the idea to do so. “You should try that once – it’s kind of mad! You will find that a guy called Schwarzlose invented a huge machine gun back in the First World War.” I am quite impressed by that finding. We both fantasize about the possibility of being related to a man like that and think the whole story is strange and funny.

When I try it myself and type my last name into the Google Search window, indeed a link appears, leading to a Wikipedia entry: Andreas Wilhelm Schwarzlose was the inventor of one of the first machine guns; the “Patent Schwarzlose M.07/12″ – an enormous, heavy, water cooled monster. It was used during the First and the Second World War in different European countries. The Austro Hungarian army was equipped with it, then Italian and Russian units captured and used it, besides that it was exported to Greece and The Netherlands. Later it was used by the Nazi German army and as well against them, in Czechoslovakia. The list of countries, which had the gun in service, is long and its trace leads through almost all bigger historic conflicts in Europe.

I visit my parents, curious to tell them about the strange news I have learned. I decide to first talk to my father. My discovery should be of interest to him, since I know about his fascination for military history and weapons. His reaction however surprises me. He knew about Schwarzlose and his invention – since a long time already. Instantly, as if he’d been waiting for this moment, he fetches two books – a weapons encyclopedia and some old army guide for soldiers. Both feature short illustrated articles on the Schwarzlose MG. It is so different from the automatic firearms we know today. In order to be operated, it had to be mounted on a tripod with an integrated seat, reminding me of a bike saddle. Several soldiers where needed to use it. One to adjust and aim, one to feed ammunition and one to sit on the saddle and fire. Soldiers used it as an infantry weapon, the marines mounted it on their ships and it was an aircraft – as well as an antiaircraft gun. From my father I also learn that Schwarzlose was even born in Wust – the same area as my mothers family comes from. Talking to my mother about this subject wont be easy. I have to think of all the evenings when my father sits in a lone, throne like armchair in the living room and watches Vietnam war movies. My mother walks in, comments the scenario with a disapproving exhaling sound and leaves the room. This sequence exists in a number of variations, like “Mafia drama”, “WW2 documentary”, “Western” or “Crime Series”. My mother hates all those genres. For my father however it is conflict – in all its shapes and sizes, and especially with all it’s historical, political and technical facts – that has a captivating effect on him. He pointed out, more then once, that war is ugly and terrifying, but in his opinion it is necessary to know about terrifying things as well. In exactly that point my mother disagrees with him, disagrees strongly. Her approach is directly opposed: She refuses to speak about disgusting things, because they disgust her. It seems like she fears that in the moment you open a terrible topic up for discussion you have already lost. You have let it in your life, you know about it and the more you understand, the greater becomes the chance that it will corrupt you. It is the chill it gives you, when you feel your moral concepts are not rock solid, but can be shaken any moment by what you learn, that chill she wants to avoid buy all means. My mother would not openly question my fathers interest, because that would force her either to reason or to argue with him about it. Both requiring her to track down the source of her fear and disgust. There’s a fair amount of tensed situations and uncomfortable scenes between the two in my memory – enough to tell me it might be sensible to drop the subject. However I decided this is not the time to be sensible. After all it is my mothers name my sister and me are carrying. As expected she is first indifferent – later even repulsed to talk or hear about the inventor of the Schwarzlose. I can try all I want, but it is impossible to get more than a sour gesture of disinterest out of her, for now anyway.

Back in Amsterdam I tell my story to a Swedish friend. He finds out that the Swedish army produced three different medals with the “Schwarzlose Kulspruta” as a motive. He speaks to his grandfather, who remembers operating the gun, but the medal is nowhere to be found. Later we contact a Swedish militaria collector who doesn’t only send me a medal, but also hints that he might know someone who could sell the entire gun if I was interested. Another friend of mine from Israel knows that the Schwarzlose has been used by some units of the Israely army as well. The soldiers gave it the Nickname “Shgorke”, meaning “Blackyæ. Soon the topic is becoming unavoidable to me. My little network of absurd interconnections is growing and information starts finding me before I even look for it.

Only a little later I am approached by another acquaintance: “Say, what was your last name again ?” he asks me. And he tells me how he had been to Bronbeek, a famous Dutch military museum in Arnhem. There he had seen, among other vestiges of Holland’s colonial war in Indonesia, the Schwarzlose gun exhibited in a glass cabinet. When I contact the curator of the museum, he proudly tells me they not only had one, but two Schwarzlose mitrailleurs in their collection and he invites me to pay a visit.

The museum itself is a rather unusual place, a mixture between an elderly veterans home and a military museum, all in the same building. One would leave a room where guns and knifes and other weapons are displayed and go next door – to find a bunch of old men playing pool and drinking lemonade in an oldfashioned cafeteria. The veterans seem to be on display as living war relics, they too are part of the grand history exhibition. As I am standing in front of the glass cabinet which contains the machine gun, looking at it and observing closely all the little bits and pieces it consists of on a large cross section map, a man enters the room. He greets me and asks for my name. As I introduce myself, his face lights up and we shake hands. He is the weapons expert of the museum. He knows the Schwarzlose mitrailleur very well and explains how it works. How many bullets it fires ( 500 per minute ), how heavy it is (machine gun: 24 kg, tripod: 20kg), where it was manufactured (Steyr and Berlin) and why it was so popular (not for being a weapon of great accuracy or sophisticated development, but simply for being easy and cheap to produce.) The man enjoys talking about all those technical and historical facts and I enjoy listening to them. “A truly marvelous piece of invention your grand grand father made.” He claps on my shoulder in approval. “Hm” I am unsure what to say. The name is all he needs. It ties me to the story of the gun whether I like it or not. If my last name was different I would not be here. The name is charged with history and it passes on its charge. Standing directly next to the gun I ask how all those weapons in the museum are deactivated, I had heard that it is illegal to posses functioning weapons of this kind since the end of the Second World War. “Oh no” he says, “this weapon is sharp. If it wasn’t its whole history would be destroyed. That is why we have a special permit for all guns we exhibit.” “Hm – aha” again I do not have a smart answer, mainly because my Dutch is not really sufficient for a more precise discussion. I somehow don’t mind my handicap. It allows me to listen and keep my thoughts to myself. The weapons expert shows me his key chain. Attached to it is a single bullet. “Do you see this? This is the ammunition which was shot with the Schwarzlose. Those bullets we made ourselves, here in Holland.” I catch myself silently speculating why he is using this bullet as a talisman…

Because I would like to take some photographs of the Schwarzlose, he insists in opening the cabinet for me and having me climb inside it. He gives me a hand as I enter the glass case and tells me it is important to get close enough. Otherwise I would miss all the important details.

Between Now and 5 Minutes Ago

2008, performance, installation, mixed media

Between now and 5 minutes ago is a two day performance, taking place simultaneously in Murica/Amsterdam. During day one we built an exact copy of our studio in Amsterdam. During day 2 we continued working on our ongoing projects. A live streaming video exchange connected the two spaces to allow visitors in Murica and Amsterdam to view our progress and help us to copy changes in the studio(s).

collaboration with Jonas Lund

Tools

2009, framed inkjet print

The work Tools shows a number of analogue tools to alter the perception of reality right in front of ones eyes. Most versions are made to be operated by simply holding up with ones hand and other versions are to be mounted on tripods.

Applying the tools

2009, inkjet print

Eight Families of Handshakes

2007, inkjet print, frames, glas, various sizes

Protection Constructions

2007, inkjet print

The Golden Ruler and Other Important Objects

Flash Cutouts

2008, video

CV

born in Berlin, Germany
living and working in Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Education

2012 MFA, Konsthögskolan i Malmö, Sweden
2006-2009 BFA Photography, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam
2003-2004 Freie Universitaet Berlin, Art History


Exhibitions


2014 Christie's x Unfair, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2014 Fotokopie, Felix&Foam Collaborate, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2014 The Drill, CIAT( Contemporary Institute for Art and Thought ) Berlin, Germany
2014 Prospects and Concepts, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2014 Entropy and the Grid, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2013 Unseen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2013 Huize Frankendael, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2013 Public Relations, Moscow, Russia
2013 Low Standards / High Ideals, Chukotka, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2013 Inkonst, Malmö, Sweden
2012 Makeriet, Malmö, Sweden
2012 CEO gallery Malmö
2012 Studio Practice (Exchange), Stockholm, Sweden
2012 Solar Plexus, Spacestation 65, London, UK
2012 Solar Plexus, V Art Center, Shanghai, China
2012 W139, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2012 KHM Galery, MFA graduation show, Malmö, Sweden
2012 Pleasant, Copenhagen, Denmark
2012 GirlsGirls, Malmö, Sweden
2012 BYOB, Stpln, Malmö, Sweden
2012 Transceiver, Bemis Art Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
2011 Format, Malmö, Sweden
2011 Prosume This! Beko, Berlin, Germany
2011 BYOB, W139, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2011 Dead Darlings, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2011 The Second Act, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2011 Somewhere Else Before, Sofia, Bulgaria
2011 Drift Station Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
2011 Art Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2010 Van Zoetendaal Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2010 KHM Gallery, Malmö, Sweden
2010 “Teaching Photography“, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
2009 “We Belong Together“, Supernova, Riga, Latvia
2009 “GRA End-Exam”, Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2008 “Between now and 5 Minutes ago” , SOS48, Murcia, Spain
2007 “Untitled Yes/No” Glass Pavillion, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2006 “Audience”, Mediamatic, Rembrandplein, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Publications

Tubelight
Metropolis M
Sydsvenskan
What's Next? A search into the future of photography, FOAM, Amsterdam
Rietveld Arsenale
Gray Magazine Issue 4 – the Meeting
Remote Monitoring 3
The Verbal Stage
Untitled ­1-3, collaboration with HGKZ, Zürich


Artist Talks / Workshops / Presentations

2014 currently teaching photography at HKU

2014 University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge Alberta
2014 ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design) Calgary, Alberta
2013 Public Relations, Moscow
2013 Chukotka Art Space, Amsterdam
2012 ICA, London
2012 Rockbund Museum, Shanghai
2012 Xindanwei, Shanghai



2013 supported by the Startstipendium of the Mondriaan Fonds