For The Old Razzle Dazzle, Isabella proposed a test of some ideas about camouflage that had emerged from her enquiry into Abbott Thayer, in relation to impressionist techniques that smudge the demarcations between figure and ground. Her initial experiments took place on location in Monet’s garden in Giverny, where she was in residence. Contemplating recent scientific journal reports about research into the ‘invisibility cloak’, she wondered how Monet’s ideas of vision would impact on such a development, and developed this project of investigative trials. Experiments included dressing models in fabrics from the Monet gift shop that had been printed with facsimiles of his paintings of the garden, and then attempting to hide the models in the garden. She worked with both still and moving images, to focus on still and ‘chameleonic’ modes of camouflage.
In a second set of experiments, her field-craft method was more refined, and used bokeh to exploit the inherent weaknesses in lenses and emulate the fractured vision of impressionism. This worked extremely well, and she was able to construct a visually exquisite but critically acute response to this site where a million tourist fantasies about ‘art’, ‘nature’ and ‘beauty’ are played out.
The Old Razzle Dazzle is a three-screen projection, seen here is an excerpt from one of the video tracks.