Y Repwblic
Conversations with Wales' Republicans : Poblachiaethwyr - Repwbligwyr - Gweriniaethwyr

" Cymro-flage " / Cultural Camouflage

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Y Repwblic Forum Index -> Celf - Unspoken Words
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2639

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:49 pm    Post subject: " Cymro-flage " / Cultural Camouflage Reply with quote

I am wondering whether this should be under " propaganda " or " theory," but the first encounter with the idea was in the context of photography.

I'm sort of amused by an idea that sort of emerged in a conversation last night, I'm sort of inclined to give the artist credit for the idea but I am sort of unsure as to whether I coined the word as we talked or he sort of did. It was at a Contemporary Arts Society for Wales evening in which Peter Finnemore talked about his work : have a quick look at these to understand the context -

http://casw.org.uk/english/default.aspx

http://www.peterfinnemore.com/main.html

Peter Finnemore's photographs are .. sort of difficult to sum up, perhaps it is better to think in terms of the audiences that particular works are thought to be addressing - which sort of leads to my trying to correctly report his comment upon photographs taken around his parent's home : that Welsh culture is " camouflaged," which I initially took to mean that objects may appear to be such things as a kettle on a stove but that whilst English people and Welsh people may be looking at the same kettle on the same stove they perceive it differently. The Welsh kettle on the stove is in a sense perfectly camouflaged so as not to arouse any comment from any English people other than upon its resemblence to any English kettles upon any English stoves that they may know about or possess themselves.

I know that that may sound weird.

Pretentious even.

It is not really specifically about Welshness e.g. obviously a Hwntw visiting a Gog would equally fail to understand the kettle on that man's northern stove. Peter Finnemore was sort of drawing attention to the sort of meanings that he found in the sort of photographs of his parents' home, sort of displaying their meaninglessness to those who understood them only as images, as surfaces, as records of transitory shifting patterns : sort of like camouflage.

So I take it that Peter Finnemore sort of confronted the spectators of these surfaces by the device of dressing in camouflage in order to emphasise his inversion of the meaning of camouflage : in a public place it made him stick out like a sore thumb, he ceased to merge into the environment and be concealed from view as if camouflaged - he ceased to be like a kettle merely sitting on a stove but became like a kettle raucously screaming out that he had reached his boiling point, that his camouflage clothing had been donned in order to confront by scalding the eyes of his beholders.

Peter Finnemore would probably not have said that about his work, I think that his intention is to invite the beholders to react : I personally do not like camouflage clothing, I find it threatening and I suspect that it is worn on the streets with exactly that intention in mind - but think of it being worn on the parade ground. When people stand en masse in distinctive clothing then the individuality of this distinctiveness is lost once again, as when the red hordes descend on Cardiff from early on upon international match days. It is once again a kind of camouflage through which individuals are difficult to locate, where in donning a red jersey an individual merges with a community in the same way that when an individual donning some darkly splotched green and beige clothing merges into the surrounding landscape.

Likewise in the modern world the Welsh are camouflaged in baseball caps and jeans, conforming and unseen - unless they choose to do something to be seen, either marked out as a mob in red ready to rise up and confuse the eyes of predators with many targets but no individual to focus upon as the camouflaged plumage of birds often serves to do, or heavily bedecked in the strange human equivalents of the plumages of bower birds, constantly preening themselves as if preparing for battle or courtship in the cracked corroding toilet mirrors of small village taverns.

As a general rule however whilst people like to express some individuality they do not want to be different : people do not wish to stand out like the pub peacock, they want some thing that marks them out without making them unique - ideally something which conveys status to others, like the ability to sing a passably tuneful version of " Country Roads " in Welsh so that everybody can both recognise the tune and admire the singer for being able to sing Welsh words to it. Now maybe this is where Peter Finnemore's idea of " welsh camouflage " meets that idea that I have of " cultural camouflage " - and creates " Cymro-flage." I am thinking that it must happen at the boundaries of cultural identity, where language switching takes place - " Cymraeg a'r pentan : English on the doorstep ! "

Yeah - I sort of suffer from it myself : my accent wanders around depending upon the company that I am with and how angry I am getting. English and Welsh people who take my accent at face value have difficulty in deciding where I am from but generally place me somewhere else, until I begin to get worked up when this strange edgy valleys twang starts up as I come to the boil and start to whistle : when I sound Welshy - beware ! This whole business of people being insecure about being themselves I can understand, but it must not be pandered to in politics because it is the individuals' own stories which are important - not the grand narratives. The sticky intestinal problems of constipated lives stuck in low gear is the information neccessary for politics, but people do not want to be exposed to view - they want to live unobtrusive and unexamined lives, to blend into the backgrounds of their communities and participate in something bigger than themselves in order to derive some compensatory meanings for the deficiencies of their humdrum lives from notions such as nations : I think that this is the sort of " Cymro-flage " that plagues modern Welsh art and literature, robbing it of the fruitful honesty and gentle self-mockery which used to characterise what I took to be the sort of notion that we had of our nation.

Have I just arrived at the conclusion that Peter Finnemore's recent photographs are toying with the idea that provided that what he does in them is camouflaged as being to do with his personal identity and its relationship to Welsh identity then what values he really is exploring can then pass un-noticed and his real pre-occupations can be disguised ? Who can say ? Congruity is in the eye of the beholden, perhaps ... maybe ...


Last edited by dai on Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2639

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to remind myself of what the conventional meaning of camouflage is - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camouflage - and to reflect upon it for a mo ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimicry

Camouflage, in which a species resembles its surroundings, is essentially a form of visual mimicry. In between camouflage and mimicry is mimesis, in which the mimic takes on the properties of a specific object or organism, but one to which the dupe is indifferent. The lack of a true distinction between the two phenomena can be seen in animals that resemble twigs, bark, leaves or flowers, in that they are often classified as camouflaged (a plant constitutes its "surroundings"), but are sometimes classified as mimics (a plant is also an organism).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crypsis

In ecology, crypsis is the ability of an organism to avoid observation or detection by other organisms. It may be either a predation strategy or an antipredator adaptation, and methods include camouflage, nocturnality, subterranean lifestyle, transparency, and mimicry. The word can also be used in the context of eggs and pheromone production. Crypsis can in principle involve visual, olfactory or auditory camouflage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_coloration

Disruptive coloration is a form of camouflage that works by breaking up the outlines of an animal, soldier or military vehicle with a strongly contrasting pattern. It is often combined with other mechanisms including background colour matching (crypsis) and countershading. It appears paradoxical as a way of not being seen, since disruption of outlines depends on high contrast, so the patches of colour are themselves conspicuous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_camouflage

Motion camouflage is a dynamic type of camouflage by which an object can approach a target while appearing to remain stationary from the perspective of the target. The attacking object simply remains on the line between the target and some landmark point, so it seems to stay near the landmark point from the target's perspective. The only visible evidence that the attacker is moving would be its angle and its looming, the change in size as the attacker approaches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countershading

Countershading, or Thayer's Law, is a form of camouflage. Countershading is the pattern of animal coloration in which an animal’s pigmentation is darker on the upper side and lighter on the underside of the body. When light falls on a uniformly coloured object such as a sphere from above, it makes the upper side appear lighter and the underside darker, grading from one to the other. This pattern is found in many species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-illumination

Counter-illumination is a method of camouflage in which an animal (or possibly a military vehicle) produces light to match an illuminated background, such as the ocean surface or sky. It differs from countershading which uses only pigment, such as a vehicle's paint or the melanin in an animal's skin, to paint out the appearance of shadows. By adding the right amount of light through bioluminescence or electronically controlled lamps, counter-illumination can at best exactly match the brightness of the background, making for more effective camouflage than countershading can provide. Since counter-illumination allows the intensity of the generated light to be adjusted, camouflage can be actively adapted to varying lighting conditions and backgrounds.

Transparency

Many marine animals that float near the surface are highly transparent, giving them almost perfect camouflage. However, transparency is difficult for bodies made of materials that have different refractive indices from seawater. Some marine animals such as jellyfish have gelatinous bodies, composed mainly of water; their thick mesogloea is acellular and highly transparent. This conveniently makes them buoyant, but it also makes them large for their muscle mass, so they cannot swim fast.

Silvering

Where transparency cannot be achieved, it can be imitated effectively by silvering to make an animal's body highly reflective. At medium depths at sea, light comes from above, so a mirror oriented vertically makes animals such as fish invisible from the side. Most fish in the upper ocean such as sardine and herring are camouflaged by silvering.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IT IS A BIG SUBJECT .... THERE ARE A LOT OF SUSPICIOUS LOOKING TREES IN CARDIFF YOU KNOW -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Camouflaged_Microwave_Cell_Telephone_Tower.JPG

- AND I NEVER UNDERSTOOD THIS FASHION BUSINESS OTHER THAN AS AN INTELLECTUAL EXERCISE -

Fashion, art, society --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dazzle_camouflage_costume_ball.PNG

Military camouflage patterns influenced Fashion from the time of the First World War onwards. In 1919, the attendants of a "dazzle ball", hosted by the Chelsea Arts Club, wore dazzle-patterned black and white clothing. The ball influenced fashion and art via postcards and magazine articles. The Illustrated London News announced " The scheme of decoration for the great fancy dress ball given by the Chelsea Arts Club at the Albert Hall, the other day, was based on the principles of 'Dazzle', the method of 'camouflage' used during the war in the painting of ships ... The total effect was brilliant and fantastic."

More recently, fashion designers have often used camouflage fabric for its striking designs, its "patterned disorder" and its symbolism.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IT STRIKES ME THAT THERE IS A LOT TO THINK ABOUT IN TERMS OF ANALGIOUS SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR : CONFORMING AND CONCEALING ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dai



Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 2639

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.flickr.com/photos/32708216@N05/7537783176/

I guess that we may well be deploying Cultural Camouflage in our disguising the White Elephant of Republicanism in Wales ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsH4V7TM0dk ... but what of the future ?

http://culturalcamouflage.org/Propaganda-the-Future

http://culturalcamouflage.org/index

MMM ... mmm ...

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/4168210?uid=3738032&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101838319197

MMM ... same ...

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=BF999BFDD5229A93B46BA24DDC695619.journals?fromPage=online&aid=3131084

Language loss, language gain: Cultural camouflage and social change among the Sekani of Northern British Columbia1

Guy Lanouea1

a1 Università di Roma “La Sapienza”

Abstract

The creation of a large artificial lake in 1968 that flooded a large part of the Sekani homeland has led to change in the political outlook of the reorganized Sekani villages. In particular, there has been a reemergence of a universalist social–political philosophy, pan-Indianism, that had as its precursor the cultural–political category of phratry. The association between disruption and the emergence of this system of categorization is historically grounded. The particular problem addressed is why the Sekani speak English when there is little direct contact with Euro-Canadians and no particular advantages, in terms of adaptation to the new economic regime, in doing so. Changes in Sekani English in the political sphere and in relationship terms are examined within the context of maintaining a commitment to pan-Indianism/universalism. (Language loss, bilingualism, political culture, ways of speaking, British Columbia, Athapaskan languages)

________________________________________________________

... AND SO TO SORT OF PONDER A POPULAR CRITIC'S USE OF THE TERM -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/apr/12/television.media

Cultural camouflage

The Big Read is fine, but don't let it persuade you the BBC cares about books

DJ Taylor, The Guardian, Saturday 12 April 2003 10.23 BST

" ... the presence of books on primetime television ought to be a matter for wonder and congratulation. ... Which is, perhaps, the really sinister aspect of a TV-led culture fest such as The Big Read. Despite much sedulous publicity from the BBC, it has an alternative function, as a kind of smokescreen carefully obscuring the general neglect of books, or indeed of anything even vaguely cultural, that goes on beneath. ... Leave aside eye-catching camouflage such as The Big Read and to what, exactly, does the BBC's commitment to literature amount, apart from the odd eroticisation of some previously chaste Victorian classic? ... At the moment, devious camouflage such as The Big Read notwithstanding, its only interest seems to lie with those of us who want to eat, dress up or renovate our houses. "

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IT IS QUITE A BUZZ PHRASE BUT SEEMS TO LACK A CONSISTENT MEANING - THIS PAPER SEEMS TO BE SURE WHAT IS MEANT BY IT - ? http://www.tasa.org.au/uploads/2011/11/Wadham-R0008-Final.pdf

Cultural Camouflage: Trouble in the Ranks - by Dr Ben Wadham ?

The Australian Defence Force is consistently subject to media exposure of its cultural practices. Cases of abuse, violence, sexual discrimination and deviant practices are exposed several times a year. This paper considers an element of the media led public discourse on the ADF- the issue of culture. The enduring question that is asked in this public discourse is whether the deviance is structural or an aberration. The ADF argue that this deviance is an aberration; elements of civil society argue it is inherent to military culture. Using critical theories of culture I argue that the Defence discourse of [ military ] culture camouflages the social reality of its deviance. The failure to recognize the institutional character of these practices manifests in a failure to address the issue and contributes to a civil-military culture gap.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qL6TTZB-t08C&pg=PA170&lpg=PA170&dq=cultural+camouflage&source=bl&ots=kcj2ks_Lav&sig=m7ToSeOxzTeO_Iz7Mv6sOB5QCqs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Ij0lUeXvE4rRhAeNqICQBw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAjge#v=onepage&q=cultural%20camouflage&f=false

Main Issues in Mental Health and Race, Volume 13
By David J. Ndegwah, Dele Olajid

P 170 - The Relationship Between Culture and Family Dynamics

" ...Each family is a particular and sometimes unique expression of the broad repertoire of cultural beliefs and behaviours of the family. The cultural costume may become ' cultural camouflage ' when it is invoked as an explanatory smokescreen which obscures the elucidation by professionals of individual states of minds or patterns of interactions within the family. For instance, if the individual's mental health is compromised by such behaviour this cultural camouflage may frustrate professional efforts aimed at improving the individual's mental health since the individual will ' camouflage ' the issues by employing arguments which counter the advice or interventions of the professionals. ... "

HEY !!! I DO THAT - I'M ALWAYS ARGUING BACK !!! I THOUGHT THAT IT WAS POLITICS ??? WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW, I AM MAD AFTER ALL AND I WAS MERELY EXERCISING SOME SORT OF DEFENCE MECHANISM ALL THESE PAST YEARS AND JUST CULTURALLY CAMOUFLAGING MYSELF AS A CAMEMBERT !!! ... cymro'n bert ? ... O-K : CAERFFILI : IAWN ???
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Y Repwblic Forum Index -> Celf - Unspoken Words All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


© 2007-2008 Informe.com. Get Free Forum Hosting
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
 :: 
PurplePearl_C 1.02 Theme was programmed by DEVPPL JavaScript Forum
Images were made by DEVPPL Flash Games