Those scant few colours of the ships disguised for warfare beyond the arctic circle lend a patterned, stylised simplicity to their purpose. War-paint for sea-cutting hulls of steel. Fragile shells against both the elements and Man’s violences. Now the patterns become an aggressive form of representing dis-order; an affective means to portray an awareness of our current environment.
From pg. 33 of H.M.S. Ulysses (Maclean, 1979):
“Where the Ulysses went, there also went death. But Death never touched her. She was a lucky ship. A lucky ship and a ghost ship and the Arctic was her home.
Illusion of course, this ghostliness, but a calculated illusion. The Ulysses was designed specifically for one task, for one ocean, and the camouflage experts had done a marvellous job. The special Arctic camouflage, the broken, slanting diagonals of grey and white and washed-out blues merged beautifully, imperceptibly into the infinite shades of grey…
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