An investigation both of historical record and practical application of Dazzle camouflage to show how it saved lives and changed they way we see the world forever. Background- In 1917, British marine artist, Norman Wilkinson invented a new form of visual deception/ camouflage. (camouflage as we commonly understand it had only been invented 1 year before for concealment by Parisian artists.) Realising that it was impossible to hide a ship, he developed the idea of dazzling and confusing an observer as to the size, shape and direction of vessels. With visual tricks used in fine art painting to compose the illusion of depth of field, perspective and mass, Wilkinson turned these principles against normal perception to distort outlines, and confuse the normal signifiers we use to interpret movement and form of objects. In the desperate year of 1917 when Britain was risking losing its vital import of food and materials due to 'unrestricted warfare',a radically new way of thinking not only offered a possible solution to the crisis of a U-boat blockade starving the country but left the legacy of a changed understanding of everything around us. A huge perceptual shift that went almost unnoticed at the time but is now a heritage embedded in our perceptual capacity . It is important to note that the German policy of 'unrestricted warfare' instigated in 1917,(ie. The U-boat attack on any shipping destined for Britain ),was a retaliatory response to the British violation of International Law (declaration of Paris 1856) i.e. the blockading of whole regions for purposes depriving whole populations of vital imports. Despite signing this treaty, Britain imposed a total blockage throughout the North sea in 1914. This 'Starvation policy' (Lord Franklin) was specifically explained by co-architect,- Winston Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty) to ' starve the whole population- men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound-into submission.' it was calculated by a prominent Berlin physician, that by 1916 80,000 children had died of starvation. By 1918 the National health office of Berlin had calculated that 763,000 civilians had died due to the blockade. The blockade was not lifted at the end of hostilities in November 1918 but was continued until the official signing of the Armistice in 1919. There are no official figures for the deaths. The flu pandemic was largely caused by malnutrition across central Europe. In total this caused as many deaths as in over 4 years of conflict. Britain had a sufficient food supply throughout. Dazzle- a S.T.E.A.M. PROJECT (Science, technology, engineering, art and maths.)
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