Elzzad

Elzzad

October 2010

Artist: Jordan Martins

Elzzad is a site-specific installation for the Whistler Storefront Gallery, experimenting with camouflage and what it means to attract or conceal a place or object. The technique employed is inspired “Dazzle Painting”, an abstract linear pattern painted onto navy ships during WWI and WWII in order to conceal their vector and size. The material used will be fragments from neon-colored signage used at local markets, indicative of a Chicago-specific tradition of hand painted signs.

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The Dazzle-inspired technique abstracts the communicative content of the signs until they become frequencies and reverberations of color and gesture. In their peripheral vision, drivers may not notice the lack of information, only the effect of the semiotic fragments suggesting a small Hispanic grocer. It is in this sense that they become a method of concealment despite their chromatic potential to attract. The pattern both highlights and obscures the presence and function of the storefront. In addition to my interest in camouflage, I am curious about how this project opens up questions of territory/territorial markings, and plumage.

Elements of this project are especially meant to relate to the context and ethos of the Whistler: using markings typical of Hispanic markets to camouflage an establishment that is in fact flanked by Hispanic businesses, and employing bright colors as camouflage for a bar that has no overt markings or identification beyond small type on an obscured front door.

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