THE NOVELS OF ELSGÜER
Optica - Centre d'Art Contemporain
April 17 - June 12, 2021
Camouflaged Screams is an interactive installation exploring the (a)symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural environment. This augmented experience incorporates large scale panoramic video projections of a recorded performance with textile pieces, along with motion sensors, enveloping soundscapes, lighting setups and sculptural elements. As the audience moves around the installation, their movements have the capacity to alter the images and sounds in the space, asking viewers to reflect on how their presence and actions have a direct effect on the environments that surround them.
The title of the work refers to the idea of how a tense and atrophied relationship between body and environment can lead to a frustration that is both palpable yet invisible. Even as the natural environment shows signs of not being able to sustain our belligerent economy, the screams of the land and the affected communities, still go unheard. Take for instance the case of COVID-19, among other environmental crises, which stem from the failure to regard human and nature as equal. This audio visual experience calls for a conscious relationship with the environments that surround us.
Technical Director and Sensor Programming
Sound Producer and Composer
Production and Studio Assistants
Photos x Paul Litherland
EXHIBITION TEXT AND TALK WITH SHAUNA JANSSEN
Camouflaged Screams -
Immersive and Scenographic Constructions of Wilding
In Wild Things: the Disorder of Desire (2020), Jack Halberstam posits the notion of wildness as an index of “exclusion, a place of exile (…) simultaneously a chaotic force of nature, the outside of categorization, unrestrained forms of embodiment, the refusal to submit to social regulation, loss of control, the un-predictable.” 
Following Halberstam’s sense of wildness as a critical term, and wilding as a performative, with Camouflaged Screams Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera’s latest immersive installation - part of a recurring narrative in their collaborative artworks that is deeply informed by their own personal and lived experiences as Canadian-Colombian immigrants - invites us to engage with aesthetics of camouflage to provoke critical reflection upon the processes by which humans adapt to their changing environments and deeply entangled survival with the epoch of the Anthropocene, planetary events, and ongoing ecological disasters.
Performance scholar Laura Levin, draws attention to camouflage not merely as a tactic for making oneself invisible, but rather as a process of “blending into the background” and as a potential site for political activism.  The political and critical remit of “background” in Camouflaged Screams, brings consciousness to the presence of bodies in more or less natural urban landscapes, rather than concealing or masking them; camouflage becoming a performative aesthetic from which to negotiate and adapt one’s ecological relationship to (un)natural environments. The use of large-scale panoramic video projections renders the camouflaged bodies as visible textile sculptures, but also as highly “performative body-object-events”  that simultaneously carry their own agency, temporality, and socioenvironmental meanings; transforming the ubiquitous white cube into a “space of pleasurable belwilderment ” and an environmentally charged scenographic construct.
With the use of motion sensors, the projected digital landscapes become an interface between the camouflaged bodies and viewers, inviting us to become intra-active participants and performers in constructing our own virtual relationship with narratives of “camouflage consciousness”  and wider body-socioenvironmental justice issues.
Author: Shauna Janssen
1. Jack Halbertsam, “Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire.” Duke University Press, 2020: 3.
2. Laura Levin, “Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In.” Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.
3. Dorita Hannah, “Alarming the Heart : Costume as performative body-object-event.” Intellect Scene vol. 2, no. 1 and 2, 2014.
4. Halberstam, 10.
5. Levin, 170.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.