Tauba Auerbach, Flow Separation
169 backers pledged $21,095 to support this project on Kickstarter.
During World War I, British painter Norman Wilkinson devised a camouflage strategy to “dazzle” thousands of ships, painting all-over abstract designs in order to distort the boat’s location, direction, and speed on enemy radar. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the end of the war, Public Art Fund, 14-18 NOW, and 169 backers celebrated the last in a series of five dazzled ships for 2018. The artist: Tauba Auerbach, whose work investigates geometries, mathematics, and fluid dynamics. The canvas: Fireboat John J. Harvey, which served New York from 1931-1994 then historically pumped water for 80 hours on September 11, 2001.
“Dazzle is more about outsmarting than it is evading,” Auerbach notes. Her take saw a mostly female crew strip the boat’s 80+ years of old paint then paint a red and white pattern that reflects the motion of water responding to moving objects. The boat launched on July 3rd, 2018, taking its backers and the public on free rides throughout the summer. The boat will then be restored to its original color scheme in 2019.