Negotiating (In)visibilities

There’s an interesting new research network called ‘Negotiating (In)visibilies‘, one of those fascinating interdisciplinary collaborations (or collisions) that spans architcture, urban studies, cultural studies, arts and information (and probably). I’ve been asked to be an advisor and will also be giving one of the keynotes at what looks to be a really great opening confererence in Copenhagen, February 1-2 2012. Should be fun!

Real-world invisibility a step closer?

Following news the other day of real-time video surveillance erasure capabilities, an even more potent way of vanishing from the eye of surveillance is being reported on by the BBC this week (although the BBC feels the add to this rather startling science story with references to a derivative but popular children’s fantasy series). For the more scientifically literate who want to avoid the drivel, you can go straight to the research paper here.

Progress is apparently being made on making more flexible ‘metamaterials’, that is materials that can bend light around them, rendering them effectively invisible. Up until recently such materials had been inflexible, but flexibility means that a wider range of applications are possible.

Anyway, it gives me a good excuse to put up another image from the fantastic Dutch artist, Desiree Palmen, who takes a rather more painstakingly old-skool approach to invisibility.

Surveillance Image of the Week No.4: Being Invisible

David Lyon sent me a reference to this wonderful Dutch artist, Desiree Palmen, who makes painstakingly painted or modelled invisibility disguises to comment on the ubiquity of video surveillance. They are somehow more beautiful for their hand-crafted (as opposed to high-tech) nature. For the picture below, her technique was to take a photograph of the interior and then paint it onto a canvass designed to be worn by the subject, who was then photographed again wearing the painted canvass in place.