optical camouflage

Jan. 21 2017 - Jan. 29 2017, Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo
Artists : Ryunosuke Goji, Issei Yamagata
Curation : Ryunosuke Goji

YouTube is a website onto which 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and which is accessed by
one billion users every month. Within this huge amount of moving image data exist contents, such as
commercial movies and television programs, that have been illegally uploaded. In order to prevent such
copyright infringement, YouTube implements an automated system called Content ID that assigns an ID to
copyrighted audio and video material and stores it in a database, against which each newly uploaded
video is checked to verify whether copyright infringements apply.

However, as is apparent from the fact that illegal movies have yet to be eradicated, techniques that
find loopholes in such censorship systems are widely available on the street. One such technique involves
reducing the frame size of the video to be uploaded and nestling it within meaningless patterns or video
images that fill the rest of the screen. As meaningless images, the videos in which the uploaded videos
are embedded encourage the viewer to pay attention to the video intended for viewing. Here, images whose
meaning have been stripped away are used as a form of camouflage in order to escape the eye of the
Content ID system, existing within the spaces of other videos. Invariably recognizable as meaningless
and irrelevant, these images surround the smaller videos embedded within them.

Nonetheless, is it really true that these images regarded as meaningless have no significance?
They may be camouflaged from the eye of Content ID, but there is no possibility of their escaping our gaze.
While exposing a certain naked defencelessness, the presence of these images still continues to be felt
at the periphery of the screen.

Optical camouflage was organized in order to consider as an opportunity for artistic investigation the
existence of images whose meaning has been abandoned in this way or which, in their meaninglessness,
have grown in complexity as they move further away from human hands. In an age when technology is becoming
increasingly integrated into the environment with seamless transparency, and when the multifarious images
of people, objects and events are becoming camouflaged within systems, this exhibition will treat this
camouflage of in/visible images as the subject, questioning the feedback generated from a certain viewpoint.


YouTubeはこのような著作権侵害を防ぐため、「Content ID」という、あらかじめ権利が保有された
払うことなく鑑賞するよう促される。これにおいて、Content IDというシステムから眼を逃れるための

Content IDの眼からはカモフラージュすることが出来ているかもしれないが、しかし私たちの眼からは

「optical camouflage」は、そのようにして意味が置き去りにされるイメージや、無意味さの中で

original text by Ryunosuke Goji
English translation by Jaime Humpreys