4-channel video installation, 27 min. English.
“Special Works School” was the codename used by the British War Office between 1917–1919 for a group of artists tasked with the job of “camoufleur” – painters, textile artists, scenographers, designers, sculptors, and scenic painters who were employed by the military to work specifically on developing camouflage technology. The artist, armed with the skill of rendering their surroundings with utmost acuity, was appointed to make things disappear. Bambitchell’s Special Works School takes its name from this military unit to investigate the connections between artistic practice and surveillance technologies. The installation asks what an overtly aesthetic approach to surveillance can render visible, or invisible. By framing surveillance as an aesthetic practice, Special Works School homes in on the psychic, embodied, and material dimensions of surveillance – both from the position of the surveillor and the surveilled.
Bambitchell is the artistic collaboration between Sharlene Bamboat, born in 1984 in Pakistan, and Alexis Mitchell, born in 1983 in Canada. Working together since 2009, their works have been exhibited at international festivals and galleries and included in a number of publications. The duo recently completed a residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany (2015–17) and a fellowship at The MacDowell Colony.