Derbyshire Lives Through the First World War – Disruptive Pattern art installation

16 June 2017 | Pamela Linden


Funded by Arts Council England and Derbyshire County Council, Disruptive Pattern was an art, sound and music installation that commemorated the men from Derbyshire’s coal-mining communities who served as stokers on board the Royal Navy’s Dazzle ships during the First World War.

Dazzle was a form of camouflage pioneered in the First World War. Designed by artists working in the basement of the Royal Academy of Arts it consisted of large geometric shapes often in black and white. The Royal Navy knew it was impossible to hide a ship at sea so their intention was to use Dazzle patterns to disrupt a ship’s outline. This made it difficult for enemy submarines to judge a ship’s position, speed and direction.

The installation was the work of musician and composer Amanda Johnson and artist Richard Johnson. The husband and wife team work together under the name Kidology Arts.

Just as the Royal Navy used Dazzle to disrupt the outline of their ships Amanda and Richard used Dazzle to show how war disrupts the pattern of family life when a loved-one is lost. They wanted to show how at those times war comes immediately and completely into people’s homes.

You can view the video here or visit the Derbyshire Lives website: