Building off previous work with CV Dazzle (cvdazzle.com), camouflage from face detection, Stealth Wear continues to explore the aesthetics of privacy and the potential for fashion to challenge authoritarian surveillance. Presented by PRIMITIVE at TANK MAGAZINE HQ from Jan. 17 - 31, 2013 was a suite of new designs, made in collaboration with NYC fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield. These designs tackle some of the most pressing and sophisticated forms of surveillance today with ready-to-wear solutions. For more information about the show visit ahprojects.com
In this video, Sergio demonstrates the capabilities of the 'Anti-Drone' Hoodie, a garment designed to shield the wearer's thermal signature. The metalized fabric used in the garment is comprised of silver-coated threads, a material that is highly reflective to heat, but also flexible and suitable for many garment constructions. The video was shot with a thermal FLIR (forward looking infrared) camera at a resolution of 640x480px. Thermal cameras see only heat, with warm areas appearing bright and cool areas dark. The goal of the hoodie is to conceal the hot areas or, at the least, allow the wearer to mask key thermal features rendering them undetectable as a human.
Typical clothing, as seen in the beginning of the video, has a surface temperature which is visible by the thermal camera. The thermally reflective hoodie worn by Sergio has a metalized exterior which shields the heat underneath, allowing the wearer to appear cloaked. The 'Anti-Drone' hoodie was the first garment created in the Stealth Wear series. The hoodie does not shield the entire thermal signature of the wearer because it is intended as a proof of concept piece. The short length illustrates the difference between the cool/masked upper body and the exposed/hot lower body. Another piece for the show, the 'Anti-Drone' burqa, provides greater thermal shielding.
This project targets thermal cameras because they are widely used on military drones as a way to identify and track objects and people from long distances. They are often tied to weaponry guidance systems to target people in the same manner as heat-seeking missiles target aircrafts.
Thermal imaging is a highly effective surveillance technology for both military and domestic use. Because of its advantages in seeing through darkness, smoke, fog and ability to see over long distance, it is an extremely valuable part of surveillance systems. However, as with any surveillance technology, it has weaknesses. One weakness, not explored here, is its inability to see through glass. The other, exploited here, is its susceptibility to thermal reflective fabric.
I believe that thermal cameras comprise part of a future era of multispectral surveillance imaging, where visible light cameras are fused with thermal, X-ray, Terahertz, UV, and IR to see beyond human perception. The Stealth Wear exhibition anticipates this future with ready-to-wear privacy-forward fashion for the Golden Age of Surveillance.
The Stealth Wear garments were created in collaboration with Johanna Bloomfield / johannesfaktotum.com/
Modeled by Sergio Dominguez
Music belongs to Prurient. Track 1: Chosen Books. Track 2: Time's Arrow / prurient.bandcamp.com/
Stealth Wear was exhibited from Jan 17 - 31, 2013
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