Responsive Installation: computer, video camera, custom software, lasercut soybean field

Subterfuge consists of an abstracted field of lasercut soybean plant shapes in the trifoliate stage of their development. The canopy of soybean leaves forms a projection screen for kinetic camouflage patterns updating in realtime in response to the changing environment surrounding the installation.

Traditionally, camouflage patterns - derived and abstracted from nature - are used to camouflage humans and human-made structures. In this work they are used conceptually: the computer system that creates and colors the camouflage patterns attempts to make the soybean field - a representation of engineered nature - blend with its surrounding environment. In doing so however, the computer system turns the field into a strange hybrid, caught somewhere between a representation of an agricultural field and architectural structure and a military artifact.

The installation was inspired by a 2011 article in the Huffington Post1) that reported on U.N. plans to supplement their troops of Blue Helmets with a special unit of Green Helmets. Green would signify their special assignment to ensure food security and agricultural resources – an issue the U.N. takes as a very serious threat to peace in the face of the effects of climate change and a growing world population. Imagine your soybean field is a resource worth killing for - how might you try to hide it? Exhibition visitors can experiment with the computer vision program in the gallery, stepping in front of a camera that picks up colors from their clothing and turns them into camouflage patterns.

1) Kelly, Tara. "U.N. Green Helmets: Ban Ki-Moon Considers Peacekeeping For Global Warming." Huffington Post, July 20, 2011.