Edinburgh Art Festival and 14-18 NOW unveil first Dazzle Ship in Scotland

The first Dazzle Ship in Scotland has been unveiled on Leith Dock by Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, to mark 100 years since the Battle of Jutland.

Dazzle Ship Scotland, the first in Edinburgh Arts Festival’s programme of public art commissions, has been ‘dazzled’ by Turner Prize-nominated artist and long-term resident of Scotland, Ciara Phillips. Entitled Every Woman, the striking pattern adorning the iconic vessel MV Fingal is Phillips’ own spin on the decorated battle-ready ships that were docked at Leith 100 years ago and celebrates the role of women during the First World War.

Every Woman is co-commissioned by EAF and 14-18 NOW on the iconic vessel MV Fingal in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith. The Glasgow-based Turner Prize nominee was announced earlier this year as the fourth artist in a series of Dazzle Ship designs commissioned as part of the centenary commemorations of the First World War.

Dazzle was a technique invented by the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson during the war where ships were covered in abstract designs and disorientating shapes to prevent the enemy from determining their range, speed and direction of travel.

In developing her design for Dazzle, Phillips was drawn to the largely untold histories of women in the First World War, inspired by the team of women who worked under Wilkinson to develop the dazzle designs. Women also worked as telegraphists and signallers, and Phillips’ design includes a message in Morse code embedded within the design in retro reflective paint reading ‘Every Woman a Signal Tower’. The message will shine out in the darkness, celebrating the ship’s former role as a supplier to remote lighthouses.

Ciara joins a number of artists including Sir Peter Blake, the Godfather of pop art, best known for designing the 1967 Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, to undertake a dazzle ship commission. And from today the public can use their smartphones to learn about the role of dazzle ships in WW1 and create their own dazzle designs using brand new artwork.

Dazzle It allows smartphone users to use the new artwork, as well as that of Sir Peter Blake, as inspiration to create their own dazzle designs then apply their creations to a 3D model, including a ship and a rubber duck, and view it via an augmented reality scene.

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW said: “The Dazzle It app and the new artwork allows smartphone users around the globe to get creative and make their own dazzle designs, using the  rich history of dazzle combined with cutting-edge digital technology. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies the Dazzle It app will allow more people than ever make the most of this unique opportunity to learn about the lasting impact of the First World War.”

The app follows the series of three Dazzle Ship commissions: Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris 2014 by Carlos Cruz-Diez on the Liverpool Waterfront; Tobias Rehberger’s Dazzle Ship London on the River Thames; and Everybody Razzle Dazzle by Sir Peter Blake.  The series of Dazzle Ships have been co-commissioned with Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool.

Dazzle It is available on iOS and Android devices from the iTunes and Google Play stores. www.1418now.org.uk/dazzle/app/

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