When the City of Hull got naked for the Planet.

2nd August 2016

 

WHEN THE CITY OF HULL GOT NAKED FOR THE PLANET

One weekend, in early June, in the city of Hull, you might have been forgiven for taking a second glance at the spectacle that manifested before your eyes. Imagine what it must have looked like to the casual observer: more than 3,000 people NAKED, spray painted in four different colors of marine blue and clustered together in great anticipation.

They walked, some on crutches, some in wheelchairs, no shoes, not a single item of clothing, but they came naked.

Had the blue meanies arrived from another planet?  Was this some kind of artistic demonstration or had the British city of Hull got involved in a blueish flash mob that had attracted thousands?  Well, not exactly but this was an artistic endeavour.

The idea of this project was to raise awareness of climate change and, in particular, the rising sea levels.  The idea that our very streets, shops and houses could be flooded was depicted by naked, blue humans appearing as though they were flooding the streets with marine blue water.

In 2017, Hull will be celebrating as the United Kingdom’s City of Culture.  The entire event was the brainchild of U.S. photographer and artist, Spencer Tunick, who has been involved in many different projects involving humans, in huge numbers and invariably in their birthday suits.

The fact that 3,200 Hull residents turned out for the project must have pleased Tunick as this showed Hull as a city which was really up for it (many of Tunick’s projects in the past struggle to get over 2,000 volunteers willing to get their kit off so readily and enthusiastically).

New York-based Tunick has worked all over the world and got volunteers to undress in their thousands for his works of photographic art.  Hull has a special relationship with the sea and this was perhaps the reason why this city was chosen and why its citizens were so keen to be part of a project that identifies climate change, rising sea levels and environmental concern.  It directly could affect them, and more so, their children.

If sea levels were to rise by just one metre, many areas in and around Hull would be under water.  Particularly badly affected will be the areas of Woodmansey, Wawne, Meaux, Benningholme and the vast lowlands just above the University of Hull. Thousands of square miles of mainly farmland, countryside and wetlands would be permanently lost to the rising sea levels.

Since 1990, sea levels have risen by as much as 8.8 centimetres, so there are just another 10 generations to go until we reach that dreaded one metre rise; unless there is a massive reduction in the burning of fossil fuels and carbon emissions - blamed for helping to warm up our planet and pushing sea levels ever higher.