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Camouflage Net Project (series)

The Camouflage Net Project began as a response to Dorothea Lange’s documentation of incarcerated Japanese Americans weaving thousands of camouflage nets for the US Army as prison labor. That archival impulse intersects with seeing history repeat itself again with the recent mass incarceration of migrant children and families. When I first gazed upon the images of my community elders as young adults, weaving strips of hemp into enormous nets, this overturned my understanding of “camp labor” from jobs such as farming, cooking, and teaching, to the possibility of tangible production of objects.
For fourth-generation Japanese Americans, we have inherited the specter of the unknown. Our parents and grandparents filtered those years with a positive spin or told us nothing at all, protecting us from the truth. When my grandmother finally opened up to me about her experience, I felt the depth of her trauma -- a trauma that needed to be bottled up again.

I connect to my elders through the labor of weaving the materiality of kimono fabric, healing this trauma and sending pride of being Japanese back in time to them. As the military technology of camouflage protects people and objects through visual blending, I reread this application as an anti-xenophobia filter through which we see all people as interconnected and interdependent with each other and the universe.

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