This article was written in 2002. It presents some of my research into one specific example of architectural camouflage carried out in California during World War II. Theories on perception and some of the theoretical conditions of camouflage, such as those articulated by Roger Caillois, are explored. (Please do not copy or re-publish without permission.)


Or the Miscommunication of Architecture


Figure 1  Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942, Santa Monica, California

Figure 1  Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942, Santa Monica, California

ON a brilliant California day an attractive woman kneels in her yard, trimming the hedges with shears. (Fig. 1) She has a pompadour hairdo, perfect fingernails, and wears a two-piece bathing suit and lightweight sandals. There is a road behind her on the left, and in the background, the neighborhood slopes uphill to a garage and a house on top. Trees dot the landscape, and shrubs and walks delineate property lines. It all seems perfectly normal, at first glance.

Then, as you look, you wonder why anyone would garden in that outfit. No one trims their hedges in high-heeled sandals. And what are those triangles lining the road? And is she kneeling on chicken wire? Something here is strange. What is this picture trying to say?


As a point of departure, let’s begin with two statements by early leaders of the modern movement. Marcel Breuer wrote: “We are seeking clear and logical forms, based on rational principles.” Walter Gropius said something similar: “We want to create a clear, organic architecture, whose inner logic will be radiant and naked, unencumbered by lying facades and trickeries.”1 The architecture of modernism (at least as articulated by these Bauhaus architects) is founded upon a faith in clear, direct communication. Open, light-filled, clean, unadorned. Ornament is crime, and form follows function. The exterior, if properly composed, should ‘speak to us’ about the interior. Modern architecture will save us, it will reform society, and we will move from encrusted darkness into purified light.

Compare Gropius and Breuer to another articulation of early modernism that stands in contrast to these notions of rational clarity. In his famous essay, “Transparency, Literal and Phenomenal,” Colin Rowe posits a different type of clarity, or transparency, when he writes: “[T]he transparent ceases to be that which is perfectly clear and becomes, instead, that which is clearly ambiguous.” 2 From the understanding of modernism as social and formal idealism wrapped in see-through glass, Rowe creates a bridge to a proto-post-modernism imbued with opacity, simultaneity and flux. When uncertainty and doubt invade the idealized vision of modernism, architecture is opened to the possibility that form and content do not necessarily commingle in the same container. In this scenario, if the language of architecture communicates, then it does so more as a morselated sub-text, as something between the lines or under the surface. Meanings are constructed daily by persons perceiving forms and spaces that slide from one page of experience, through time and movement, onto other leaves of perception and illusory understanding. This paper seeks to expand the existing discourse that has emerged out of the potential for ambiguity in architecture. Adhering to the theme of this conference, I will present a practice of overt architectural miscommunication with a broad-based introductory approach.

This paper will focus on an example of camouflage from World War II. The Douglas Aircraft Facility of Santa Monica, CA in 1943 was one of many architectural oddities of the time. Camouflaged beyond all reason, this building exemplifies the slippages and irrational fissures that exist within all attempts at architectural communication. I will argue that the illogic of camouflage can be read as a radical theory of form and space enabled by the magic and elusive qualities of camouflage itself. This camo-theory presents an architecture that subverts valuations of clear, rational vision in favor of an architecture of play through mimicry. Theories of mimicry and perception from Freud and Roger Caillois to Merleau-Ponty and Lacan will provide a reading of camouflage that is at once sensual and pathological. Subverting the power of the eye and playing with our perceptions at a number of levels, camouflage creates a physical and sensuous relation to the world that profoundly affects the subject’s sense of space and place. Camouflage blurs and destabilizes the bodies, the architectures, and the societies that employ its techniques, producing effects that are at least twofold. In the destabilizing crisis camo sets in play we find both a positive and exciting realm of potentiality (one that becomes a primary source for new discoveries and new architectures) and, simultaneously, a darker, more ominous aspect that suggests that we never see anything clearly, that we all live a life in camouflage.

Dysappearance (i.e., Duchamp and Cage)

And so what does it mean to make a camouflaged building? And how does a camouflaged building implicate, through its mimicry, a camouflaged culture?

This is a question inspired by similar questions posed throughout modern and contemporary art, yet never sufficiently confronted by architecture. Marcel Duchamp's “Fountain”, John Cage's completely silent musical composition, "4:33," and other works since these have proposed the condition of an invisible, or phenomenally nonexistent art, where the artifact itself performs its magic behind the eye, through other forms of sensing, arriving finally at intellectual thought processes which test the very definition of art. An architecture that seeks to dysappear probes the definition of “Architecture” in much the same way.

Note that I spell the word 'dysappearance' with a "y," as in "d-y-s appearance," in order to suggest dysfunction, as well as a strange way of vanishing. A dysfunctional disappearance is not a simple "going up in a puff of smoke," or a mere ceasing-to-be seen. It is not a simple negation of appearance. A d-Y-s-appearance moves through more radical and irrational trajectories than a d-I-s-appearance. It is a becoming unseen through processes of crisis, processes which are more disruptive, and potentially more deathly. Camouflage as a mode of dysappearance articulates a new understanding of form and space – where a blurring of distinctions between object and milieu results in the dysappearance of architecture proper.

Douglas Aircraft Facility

Let’s return briefly to our first image for an example.

This picture was taken not on an ordinary suburban street but rather on the roof of the Douglas Aircraft factory in Santa Monica, California, in 1942, after a total camouflage design had been completed. 3 Everything here is fake, even the ‘bombshell’ placed jokingly into the scene in a sexist attempt to bridge with humor what is really a rather scary gap between military efforts and the ‘ideal’ domestic homeland. Certainly one of the most sophisticated camouflage efforts ever carried out in the United States, the Douglas Plant presents for us a fascinating example of what happens when camouflage is carried beyond its logical extreme.

In WWII, camouflage came to be a fully developed field of both military and civilian activity that integrated a wide range of cross-disciplinary specialties. Architects, engineers, artists, military strategists, and political advocates all came together around important places for the purpose of rendering them invisible to the enemy. In England, the Directorate of Camouflage in the Ministry of Home Security, established in early 1941, had a "Vital List" of some 8,000 sites deemed worthy of consideration. They narrowed it down to 2,500 buildings and places, and of these 30% received some level of camouflage.

In a state of near panic after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States greatly feared that Japan might attempt to bomb the mainland coast. Thus, in a large-scale collaboration of the military and entertainment industries, volunteers from Hollywood turned out in droves with all their scenography skills to render this enormous factory unidentifiable from the air. All of the structures you see here are faked-up houses, streets and trees. Similar camouflage efforts were also carried out on Boeing Plants in Seattle and elsewhere. But before we get into the reading of these views from the roof, I would like to back up a bit, 20,000 feet up in the air to be exact, which is the altitude of the long-range bombers that generated this extraordinary camouflage effort.

This is an aerial shot of the Douglas plant from May 22, 1942, soon after the start of the camouflaging process. (See fig. 2) The large rectangular areas show preliminary paint on the runway, laid down as a base coat in preparation for more detailed rendering of the neighborhood. The plant with its stepped outline is along the bottom of this image. Most of the roof is made up of saw-tooth skylights, with some arched hangers. You can just see around the edges some of the urban context that surrounded the plant. Off to the top of the image lay open fields.

Figure 2   Aerial view,  Douglas Aircraft Facility, May 1942

Figure 2   Aerial view,  Douglas Aircraft Facility, May 1942

Figure 3  Aerial view,  Douglas Aircraft Facility, September 1942

Figure 3  Aerial view,  Douglas Aircraft Facility, September 1942

In Figure 3, taken on September 19th of the same year with similar framing, we can see that the camouflaging is nearly complete. Note that the plant along the bottom third of the image and the runway in the middle, are now well painted out. At the top of the image is the dummy plant and the edge of the dummy runway. The real runway looks for all the world like a subdivision, as does the roof of the plant. Note the excellent shadows cast by all of the "trees" and "houses" on the roof of the plant. A few conditions stand out: note the too-white curbs that outline the city blocks, strong shadows still reveal a few more basic forms of the plant, and the dummy plant and airfield are too clean. And if you look closely you can see planes, and the repetitious pattern of the saw-tooth roof under the surface of the camo netting.

One of the most impressive aspects of the camo scheme is how well the designers incorporated the surrounding neighborhood into the roofs and runways of the plant. This is perhaps the most important factor in terms of protection against aerial detection, and it provokes several theoretical questions that I will get to in a moment. But first, I would like to explain the particulars of aerial reconnaissance, and the camouflage techniques it engenders.

Aerial Camouflage

Camouflage, as we see it used by our large militaries today, is actually a relatively new concept. Only during WWI, where camo was used primarily to hide small front-line targets from observers on the ground, did a French military officer, inspired by the cubist strategies of Picasso and Braque, think to disrupt the spatial reading of form by covering trucks and men with complicated shapes and colors that came as close as possible to the forest and trees and grasses of the battlefield.4 Unfortunately there is not space here to do full justice to the three-way overlap common to camouflage, phenomenal transparency, and the foundation that they share in Cubism. (I have explored this in a longer article, yet to be published.)

In WWII the threat of long-range precision bombing made targets deep inside friendly territory susceptible to attack from the air. And camouflaging a target, especially a large industrial or military complex (whose plan can be 30 times larger than any one of its elevations) is infinitely more difficult than hiding the same facility from detection from the ground.

Soldiers trained in aerial reconnaissance were taught to read aerial photographs in extreme detail. These specialists scrutinized images with magnifying glasses searching for any number of signs that would indicate potential targets. The identification of industrial targets and landmarks from the air was facilitated by the large bulk of these facilities, their highly "unnatural" geometric forms, the heavy shadows which accentuate these forms, surface textures which control the relative brightness of a shape, and lastly, color which is the least important due to the difficulty of perceiving color from a far distance.

Shadows cast by buildings.

Shadows cast by buildings.

Geometric shadows cast from various types of buildings create some of the camoufleur's chief headaches. In many cases it was the shadows, more than the look of the roofs, that gave buildings away to an aerial observer. For the elimination of these shadows, the ubiquitous camo-netting was certainly the camoufleur’s most-loved medium. Netting installed at a 10 degree angle from the roof edge to the ground eliminated the strong, dark geometries of the building’s shadows. Camo netting was typically a grid of heavy cords knotted about three inches apart. This allowed a variety of materials to be woven into the net for the imitation of a wide variety of settings. Garnishes typically included cloth and fiberglass painted to match surrounding colors, as well as steel wool, chicken feathers, real Spanish moss, and other plant materials from the vicinity.

It is now possible to understand how an aerial perspective determines methods and techniques of camouflage on the ground. The type of camouflage employed at Douglas uses the properties of light to cast shadows, shadows that intentionally seek to miscommunicate. These moving shadows give life to a fiction read by experts in aerial reconnaissance. At Douglas they even went so far as to hang laundry out to dry in this dream-scape, so as to create changing scenes of shadows to fool aerial spies looking at different pictures taken on different days – all in an attempt to leave a trace that might suspend their disbelief.

The Douglas Camouflage illustrates, in its specific address to the aerial camera lens, a critique of empowered seeing par excellence. The camera’s optics - understood as a symbol of the culmination of renaissance perspective - is the very device that camo seeks to subvert. The closeness of ‘reconnaissance’ to ‘renaissance’ illustrates the socio-political modes of surveillance and domination in the modern era enabled by perspectival seeing. Foucault’s diagram of the panopticon, for example, is the same as that of aerial reconnaissance. Both diagrams consist of an empowered (and dangerous) eye, searching a relatively shallow field of activity for abnormalities. There is another layer in the diagram of aerial reconnaissance, however, which sets it apart from the panopticon. This is the layer of the camo net, which functions as a trompe l’oeil, tricking the detached, elevated and all-seeing eye into thinking another kind of reality exists altogether.

Camouflage tricks the eye through a condition more commonly known as mimicry; a concept whose lineage goes all the way back to Aristotle, for whom mimesis describes the pleasurable role of imitation in the creative process. Mimicry plays an important role in helping us gain a deeper theoretical understanding of camouflage, and the possible implications for architecture.


In 1935 the French sociologist and amateur entomologist Roger Caillois published an article entitled "Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia" that attempted to account for insect camouflage. His treatment of camouflage as mimicry is important because he attempted to link insect strategies of mimicry to certain human neurotic pathologies. For our purposes Caillois’s notion of mimicry begins to address the psychological dimensions of camouflage.

According to Caillois, the real reason insects employ mimicry is neither to mount a defense (as a mode of hiding from a predator) nor an offense (as a way of hiding from prey). He argued that mimic camouflage does not work well enough to ensure its evolution for that purpose - the bugs ultimately get eaten anyway, since most predators detect them through heat and smell, not vision. The remains of these supposedly undetectable bugs are routinely found in the stomachs of other bugs. (I am not using Caillois to argue that the Douglas Aircraft Plant wasn’t actually being protected by its camouflage: in the military world, unlike the animal world, camo does actually work as it’s intended to. Having said this, Caillois does allow us to move beyond this practical dimension of camouflage to other, more philosophical levels of understanding.)

The true reason that insects employ mimicry, Caillois argues, is that on some basic level the insects experience "a real temptation by space."5 Now, whatever we may think of the scientific validity of this deduction, we must admit that Caillois has come up with a fascinating idea: that the relationship of an organism to its surroundings is subject to temptation, is subject to an almost erotic, licentious, perhaps even dangerous longing which he calls legendary psychasthenia. As he puts it:


"The feeling of personality, considered as the organism's feeling of distinction from its surroundings, of the connection between consciousness and a particular point in space, cannot fail under these conditions to be seriously undermined; one then enters into the psychology of psychasthenia, and more specifically of legendary psychasthenia, if we agree to use this name for the disturbance in the above relations between personality and space."6


Jacques Lacan, who leans heavily on Caillois and notions of mimicry throughout his thinking, ties mimicry directly to camouflage, and I quote: “The effect of mimicry is camouflage, in the strictly technical sense. It is not a question of harmonizing with the background but, against a mottled background, of becoming mottled – exactly like the technique practiced in modern warfare.”7

For Lacan and Caillois mimicry in the insect world illustrates an equivalent mental psychosis in humans where a fundamental miscommunication exists between the subject’s sense of self (their ego) and their body. As Elizabeth Grosz puts it: “Both the psychotic and the insect renounce their rights to occupy a perspectival point, abandoning themselves to being spatially located by/as others.”8 This locational ambiguity expresses a split identity in the camouflaged subject, where the individual’s sense of self as positioned within and constituted by a body, is undermined by the dissolution of his/her body into space when camouflaged.9 The lure here for architecture lies in the implications for understanding space not as something empty and meaningless, but rather as something thickened by qualities. Here is Caillois again:


"I know where I am, but I do not feel as though I'm at the spot where I find myself. To these dispossessed souls, space seems to be a devouring force. Space pursues them, encircles them, digests them in a gigantic phagocytosis. It ends by replacing them. Then the body separates itself from thought, the individual breaks the boundary of his skin and occupies the other side of his senses. . . He feels himself becoming space."10


Under the threatening eye of the aerial bombardier, the Douglas plant must feel itself becoming suburb. The form of the neighborhood has crept up and over the plant to dissolve it into Santa Monica, and the factory’s mimicry of the neighborhood that surrounds it upsets the normal workings of vision and surveillance required by the bombardier. At the Douglas Plant and other camouflaged structures the psychoanalytical articulations of mimicry suggest a slippage, or miscommunication between form and content, and by extension, between presence and absence. Camouflage is, at a profound level, a dissolution of the object into the space around it, an obfuscation of the figure/ground condition which suggests the nonexistence of the building being hidden.

This evasion of the power of vision is undoubtedly one of camo’s primary roles. But the interesting point that Caillois allows us to see is that if camo functions to trick the bombardier in the sky, it also serves to destabilize its own subject on the ground. It is in the subtle shift to the psychological state of the camouflaged subject that Caillois serves as a hinge between discussions of the aerial photos, and the earth-bound conditions of a mobile, perceptive subject.

Figure 4 Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

Figure 4 Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

Figure 5 Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

Figure 5 Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

On the Ground: Embodied Camouflage

These are images (figs. 4 and 5) taken not from the air, but from the embodied perspective of one who walks. We are looking again at the roof of the Douglas plant from the roof of the Douglas Plant. At first glance, even second and third glance, every thing seems normal. The detail, textures, and complexity of form, the just-right combination of regularity and irregularity is fascinating. The trees are obviously the handiwork of people experienced at faking trees. On the fourth glance, which is a longer, more careful study, rather than a glance, we can start to recognize some deviations from the norm. Looking past the foreground of Figure 4 you might think this was anyplace USA. 2x4 trees, canvas streets and sidewalks, different houses of plywood and metal sheeting - all look amazingly real. But then we notice, on the far right, a man standing on a boardwalk "sidewalk". It immediately becomes obvious that this house he is considering is about 4 feet tall. And you don’t see front lawns like that very often.

Figure 6  Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

Figure 6  Douglas Aircraft Facility, 1942

In Figure 6 we discover a wood and canvas car on a muslin street, a condition which illustrates how two dimensional shadows need have very little semblance to the forms that create them. Here, a highly abstract three-dimensional form casts shadows that communicate “car” to someone at a great height. So we come to understand that shadows, forms and distance are all related, tied to each other in a circling rendezvous of influence. But as you can see in this image of the car, the 3d forms need not correspond exactly to their real counterparts.

This suggests a condition where aeriality becomes a force of abstraction. Cars become strange sculptural forms parked in a too-short wonderland of imitation and artificiality.


This roof-top fantasy suggests parallels to the Disneyland of Baudrillard’s simulacrum, where “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact, all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation.”11 But whereas Disneyland is presented as imaginary (only to reveal the artificiality of its surroundings), the Douglas plant is presented as real (at least to the aerial spies). Despite this important difference, both Disney and Douglas have the same effect: in the direct juxtaposition of hollow suburb (fantasyland) to real suburb (city) we are presented with a condition in which the adjacency of the copy to its original throws the original into doubt. Norman Bryson clarifies this fluxing vibration in his discussion of ancient Roman frescos that illusionistically extended the walls of Pompeian villas:

“When a representation is placed alongside or against the original, representation is raised to a higher power: it becomes ‘simulation.’ (…) [W]hen the copy stands adjacent to or in the place where one would expect the real thing, something more is involved; the original loses its autonomy, it becomes the first in a series that also includes fictions. (…) Representation absorbs the house.” 12

Here representation tempts the house in ways similar to how space tempts Caillois’ Legendary Psychasthenic. Both the house and the animal are destabilized by mimicry. I am interested in the slippage back and forth between the real and the fake fostered by camouflage. I find fascinating how, from the air, the Douglas plant merely D-I-S-appears. Yet on the ground we enter a surreal realm of D-Y-S-appearance where streets are made of canvas and cars (still functioning for the camoufleur) are dysfunctional, distorted shells parked in a suburban simulacrum.

From the Ghostly to the Corporeal

In coming to know the dysappearance of this place through our embodied perception, we arrive at the ability to name the strangeness discovered in the early study of the first image of this place (fig. 1). In Freud’s essay of 1919, the Uncanny can be understood as "the fundamental propensity of the familiar to turn on its owners, suddenly to become defamiliarized, derealized, as if in a dream."13 And in Anthony Vidler’s book on the architectural uncanny he speaks of the unnerving condition as “a representation of a mental state of projection that precisely elides the boundaries of the real and the unreal in order to provoke a disturbing ambiguity, a slippage between waking and dreaming.”14 This theory, developed, interestingly enough, out of Freud's wartime studies of shell shock, speaks to a condition typified by the Douglas Aircraft Facility. I see in the hollow plywood houses the presentation of a 'suburban uncanny,' where the familiarity of America's domestic everyday world returns to itself in a ghostly, thin-shelled imitation.

This perplexing empathy we feel with the dream-realm of the Douglas roof miscommunicates in strangely rich and playful ways. Things look so real, and yet we know them to be empty and lifeless. The place feels mysterious, otherworldly. Perhaps, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty might say, “I feel myself looked at by the things. ” This is a wholly different way of seeing: “not to see in the outside, as the others see it, the contour of a body one inhabits, but especially to be seen by the outside, to exist within it, to emigrate into it, to be seduced, captivated, alienated by the phantom, so that the seer and the visible reciprocate one another and we no longer know which sees and which is seen.”15

It is through the work of Merleau-Ponty that we are able to segue from the realm of the psychotic/uncanny to the phenomenal experiences of everyday perception. Here the extremes of Caillois and Freud can be understood as extensions of our normative relations to the world vis-à-vis our bodies. According to Merleau-Ponty, we understand the world only through an embodied consciousness, and because our bodies both see and are seen, touch and are touched, we become aware of a reciprocal relation between body and world. This reciprocity, or ‘simultaneous perception’ of our bodies in-and-of the world results in a chiasm, or intertwining between our bodies and a milieu that surrounds and overlaps us. Our bodies migrate into the world, and the world migrates into us, “fluctuating in continuous activity.” 16 At one level this suggests the ambiguous body-in-camouflage, at another it suggests an ethical component to the body-world continuum, and by extension, the body-building-world continuum: if we posses such an intimate relationship to our milieu as Merleau-Ponty posits, does this not demand a heightened awareness of, and responsibility for, that environment? 17 This sounds like an avocation of green architecture, (which it is, in part) but this is only one slice of the potential pie.

While on one hand, camo-theory posits an integration of the subject into its setting (in architecture, a laudable – if perhaps utopian – sounding goal: think Taliesin), on the other, camo must simultaneously allow for that setting to disguise other (potentially sinister) subjects. And here things are not all positive: camouflage works for both the hunter and the hunted. The possibility, as Baudrillard suggests, that everything is a simulation without an original, in fact, that all is camouflage, demands of us a critical strategy, a camo-savy tactic for interrogating our illusionistic, camo-savy culture of which we are an inextricable part. Perhaps one irony of a possible camo-theory is that the ability to employ camo is accompanied by the sensitivity and awareness to be able to distinguish others who use it. As this logic plays itself out, either camo tactics will have to keep getting better and better, or they will become self-defeating.

As an architect immersed in our contemporary milieu, I am preoccupied with that aspect of camouflage that allows a play of ideas and produces a freedom of movement relative to the world, enabling a new understanding of the world’s too-often presumed appearance. Architects should take seriously camo’s twofold possibility: first, as a tactical lens for looking at all of culture, and second, as an architectural camo-strategy which enriches and enlivens our body’s intertwining in the flesh of our milieu, where the eye is not plucked out of, but critically engaged with our bodily perceptions.

I refrain here from presenting contemporary architectural examples (of which there are several), primarily because I especially want to avoid prescriptive formal or aesthetic agendas for camo-architecture. The crux of what I see here as the potential for contemporary architecture and criticism exists in the old camo maxim that “camouflage construction defies standardization.” 18 Every condition is unique, because every environment is unique. And when these environments are defined broadly, any attempt at description or prescription becomes anathema to the project. In this regard the methods of the Douglas Aircraft Facility can be seen as a fascinating literal inroad to a theoretical problem, but obviously unhelpful as a prescriptive model for contemporary design. This is not to say that a camo-architecture might not employ a kind of becoming-mottled formal mimicry, but rather that a critical architecture of camo-mimicry must be at least as conceptual as it is formal, employing metonymic operations as well as painterly ones. This will enable the ‘clearly ambiguous’ miscommunication of camouflage, where the meaning of a thing is no longer tied to its appearance, and is instead set free, elusive, imaginary, and fluid.



I would like to sincerely thank Jonathan Massey, Ted Brown, and Jennifer Roberts for reading this paper and providing their insightful suggestions and comments.


The images in this article came from the National Archives and Records Administration.


1 Marcel Breuer, “Metal Furniture,” Walter Gropius, “Theory and Organization of the Bauhaus,” both as quoted in Peter Jones, “Building the Empire of the Gaze: The Modern Movement and the Surveillance Society,” Architecture Theory Review, (November, 1999) p. 5-6

2 Colin Rowe and Robert Slutsky, “Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal,” The Mathmatics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays, (MIT, Cambridge, 1976) p. 161

3 My introduction to the Douglas Aircraft Facility and the images presented here-in is thanks in large part to the book by Roy M. Stanley II, To Fool A Glass Eye, (Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998) p. 171-177

4 Stephen. Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, (Cambridge, Harvard, 1983) p. 302

5 Roger Caillois, "Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia", from October 31, Winter 1984, trans. John Shepley, (Cambridge, MIT, 1984) p. 17-32

6 Caillois, p. 28

7 Jaques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans., Alan Sheridan, (New York, Norton, 1977) p. 99

8 Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies, (Bloomington, Indiana, 1994) p. 47

9 The split subject, which for Lacan exists on some level for all of us, results from problems in the development of the social ego caused by the Oedipus Complex and castration anxiety. For Lacan (who cites Caillois’ notion of legendary psychasthenia to illuminate his concept of the mirror stage) the split subject is instigated by the phenomenal transparency of the mirror, where the child’s Gestalt image of its whole self is simultaneously occupied by, and conflicts with, a chaotic and fragmented fantasy of its bodily/sensorial experiences. The inability of the social ego (the unified self instigated by the mirror phase) to collect these libidinal fragments of the self that persist from infancy reaches its most extreme state in the psychotic depersonalization described by Caillois. For a more expansive, clear and insightful discussion of these issues see Chapter 2 of Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies.

10 Caillois, p. 30

11 Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations,” from Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, (Stanford, Stanford U., 1988) p. 172

12 Norman Bryson, Looking at the Overlooked, (Cambidge: Harvard, 1990) p. 36. The italics in this quote are Bryson’s own.

13 Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny, (Cambridge: MIT, 1994) p. 7

14 Vidler, p. 11

15 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “The Intertwining – The Chiasm,” The Visible and the Invisible, (Evanston, Northwestern, 1968), p. 139

16 Through Merleau-Ponty we come to understand the phenomenal perception of Rowe and Slutsky’s phenomenal transparency, defined as the “simultaneous perception of different spatial locations. Space not only recedes but fluctuates in continuous activity.” - Gyorgy Kepes as quoted in Rowe and Slutsky, p. 161.

17 Emanuel Levinas’ ethical reading of Merleau-Ponty is pointed out by Pat Morton, in “The Two Halves of the Orange,” Fabrications, Aaron Betsky [et al.], (New York: Museum of Modern Art, etc., 1998)

18 Konrad F. Wittman, “The Camouflage Dilemma,” in Pencil Points, (January, 1942) p. 13-14