Genbot’s Weblog

Socially Camouflaged Technologies
January 22, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: 2008

Maines argues that “the marketing of social camouflaged technologies is directed to consumers who already understand the design purpose of the product, but whose legally and/or culturally unacceptable intentions in purchasing it cannot be formally recognized by the seller” (p. 113)

What sorts of socially camouflaged technologies are out there?

There’s the usual – camouflaged technologies used for hunting, warfare etc., which aren’t ‘socially camouflaged’ per se such as Trebark® Bigwoods, whose web copy reads … “To mimic natural surroundings for total concealment is not easy. Trebark® Bigwoods uses the latest in printing technology and 3-D imagery to create an amazingly lifelike pattern.”

Example: forest-floor-swatch.jpg

The Forest Floor Swatch.

Web Camouflage , described in a New Scientist (2002) article as ““New computer software promises to undermine government and workplace restrictions on internet use by camouflaging suspicious communications within innocent internet traffic. The banned content is returned hidden inside innocuous-looking digital image.” I’m sure many that e-surveillance technologies are ripe for diverse and discrete forms of surveillance.

Of interest: The Fermette: A Camouflaged Technology by Els De Vos, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, presented at the SHOT Conference, 2004.

And, Good Vibrations, Upscale Division, Camouflaged Technologies from the October 3, 2004 New York Times Style Section has an article by Ruth La Ferla entitled “Good Vibrations, Upscale Division” which talks about upscale design and camouflaged nature of new vibrators:

MELINDA HACKETT, an artist, peered at the streamlined, stone-colored object at Myla, a boutique on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “It’s like a Brancusi,” she murmured, turning for a second opinion to Diana Oswald, a friend….

Ms. Oswald regarded the item quizzically. “It looks like a shoe form,” she said, straining for a closer look. “On second thought, I’d put it under a plexiglass box with a little light on it,” she said. “That way someone would think I bought it as a sculpture. It’s black; that makes it a little bit forbidden.”

Apt, perhaps, since the article in question, a nine-inch wedge of resin shaped like a hipbone, made by Tom Dixon, the British design guru, was in fact a vibrator. As remote in appearance from the “marital aids” hawked at pornography shops as an Eames chair is from a straw stool, it was displayed under glass.

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