You can’t miss this ship painted with brightly coloured stripes moored up in the Canning Graving dry dock near the Pierhead in Liverpool.
The Edmund Gardner, a pilot ship built in the 1950’s and now part of the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s collection, has been painted in a style used on merchant ships transporting goods across the Atlantic as a way of confusing U-boats. The work was commissioned jointly by the Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool and 14-18 NOW, an organisation which is commissioning art works to mark the centenary of the First World War
Dazzle, unlike more usual forms of camouflage, wasn’t intended to conceal a ship but to confuse the enemy – to make it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size, speed, and heading by disrupting their visual rangefinders. The technique was inspired by the Vorticist art movement. Many of the “Dazzle ships” were painted in Liverpool dockyards.
The camouflage for the Edmund Gardner was designed by the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez and the ship was painted by workers from the Camel Lairds shipyard, which is “over the water” from Liverpool in Birkenhead.
Carlos Cruz-Diez has also painted a dazzle type pattern on the pavement leading to Custom House Quay, across the road from the Albert Dock
Interestingly, local band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), named their fourth album released in 1983, Dazzle Ships.