Spencer Tunick is well known for his photographs of large numbers of naked people. Volunteers strip to pose in scenes staged in a variety of locations from urban to wild.
His latest project used 3,200 people, all painted in shades of blue, gathered, lying or standing in various locations around Hull, in the UK. The series of photographs is commissioned by Ferens Art Gallery to celebrate Hull’s maritime history.
To my eye, however, the sea of blue bodies in the streets is a reminder of how vulnerable our cities are to sea level rise. Spencer Tunick described his work as “the idea that the bodies and humanity is flooding the streets.” During a normal day, these streets are flooded by people doing everyday things like going to work and shopping, but when the seas rise, it will be blue water that floods the streets, just like these blue nudes have done. In the best case scenario, with 5 or 6 feet of sea level rise by 2100, most of Hull will be underwater. In the worst case scenario, 10 feet by 2100, the city is obliterated. And of course, time does not stop in 2100. Beyond 2100 we are locked into 20+ feet of sea level rise, even if we stop all CO2 emissions today.
What do these blue nudes evoke for you?
For more photographs of the blue nudes flooding Hull streets, check out these photographs in The Guardian.