A look at a most unusual public art project in New York harbor: “Flow Separation,” a collaboration between the Public Art Fund and 14-18 Now, a UK-based organization. As part of the commemoration of the centennial of the First World War, they commissioned artist Tauba Auerbach to cover the historic John J. Harvey fireboat in a brightly colored design known as dazzle camouflage.

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> A CENTURY AGO, OUR COUNTRY WAS IN THE MIDST OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO STOP SHIPS FROM BEING TARGETED AND SUNK BY GERMAN SUBMARINES, BRITISH AND AMERICAN VESSELS WERE PAINTED IN BRILLIANT, CONFOUNDING DESIGNS KNOWN AS DAZZLE CAMOUFLAGE.

WHILE THE EFFECTIVENESS IS DEBATABLE, THE BRIGHTLY COLORED SHIPS FASCINATED ARTISTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC AND SERVED AS INSPIRATION FOR MODERN DAY DAZZLE SHIPS HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

THE PUBLIC ART FUND, JOINED WITH 1418 NOW, A U.K. BASED ART PROJECT TO COMMEMORATE THE CENTENNIAL OF WORLD WAR I.

THEY COMMISSIONED AN ARTIST TO COVER THE HISTORIC JOHN J.

HARVEY BOAT IN A DAZZLE PATTERN.

THE TEMPORARY INSTALLATION TITLED FLOW SEPARATION IS INSPIRED BY THE MOVEMENT OF WATER AND THE BOAT'S TRADITIONAL RED AND WHITE COLOR SCHEME.

WHILE TICKETS FOR FREE HARBOR TOURS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE, YOU CAN STILL VISIT THE SHIP AT THE HUDSON RIVER PARK PIER THROUGH MAY 12.

> IT'S A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE PUBLIC ART FUND AND 1418 NOW.

THEY ARE A U.K.-BASED ORGANIZATION.

THEIR FOCUS IS TO COMMEMORATE THE CENTENNIAL OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

1418 NOW HAS BEEN DAZZLING VESSELS IN THE U.K.

AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY EXCITING AND APPROPRIATE TO COLLABORATE THEM TO BRING A DAZZLED VESSEL TO NEW YORK, PARTLY BECAUSE THAT KIND OF GREAT HISTORY OF DAZZLE SHIPS IS NOT JUST RELEVANT TO THE U.K.

WHEN THE U.S. JOINED THE WAR EFFORT, THOUSANDS OF SHIPS WERE DAZZLED HERE.

AT THE TIME THAT THE ARTIST INVENTED THE CONCEPT OF DAZZLE, I THINK ON AVERAGE THERE WERE EIGHT SHIPS BEING SUNK A DAY CROSSING THE ATLANTIC.

IT WAS BORN OUT OF KIND OF A DESPERATION.

IT WAS AN IDEA AROUND CAMOUFLAGE.

BUT A VERY UNLIKELY CAMOUFLAGE.

IT WAS INTERSECTING FORMS AND SHAPES AND COLORS PAINTED ON SHIPS, TO VESSELS FROM CARGO SHIPS TO PASSENGER SHIPS.

THE IDEA WAS THESE PAT TTERNS A FORMS AND SHAPES WOULD CONFUSE ANYONE LOOKING AT THEM, SUBMARI.

THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO BE TARGETED.

MY COLLEAGUE AND I, WE TOOK TO THE SEAS.

I THINK WE RODE EVERY SINGLE BOAT ON THE EAST RIVER AND HUDSON TO TRY TO FIND THE RIGHT VESSEL BUT ALSO THE RIGHT PARTNER.

I WAS STRUCK BY THE JOHN J.

HARVEY.

IT WAS BUILT IN 1931 AND WAS AN ACTIVE FIRE BOAT UNTIL THE '90s WHEN IT WAS DECOMMISSIONED.

IT WAS SAVED BY A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS.

THEY HAVE BEEN MAINTAINING AND OPERATING IT SINCE.

IT WAS CALLED BACK INTO SERVICE DURING 9/11.

IT WENT TO LOWER MANHATTAN.

IT RESCUED PEOPLE AND PUMPS WATER FOR 80 HOURS WHEN THE MAINS HAD GONE OUT IN THAT PART OF TOWN.

IT ALSO IS THIS KIND OF ICONIC HERO OF NEW YORK.

IT FELT LIKE A PERFECT PARTNER FOR US IN TERMS OF THEIR MISSION AND THEIR ETHOS.

WHEN IT CAME TO THINKING ABOUT WHO WOULD BE A GREAT ARTIST TO WORK WITH, TO DAZZLE THE CONTEMPORARY VESSEL, IT FELT LIKE THE PERFECT CHOICE TO WORK WITH HER.

WE COULD CONNECT HER BACK TO AVANT-GARDE THINKING.

SHE'S VERY PROCESS DRIVEN.

SHE WAS STRUCK BY, IT IS THIS VESSEL THAT MOVES THROUGH WATER.

BUT ALSO WATER MOVES THROUGH THE BODY OF THE VESSEL ITSELF.

THAT KIND OF IDEA OF FLUID DYNAMIC BECAME THE STARTING POINT FOR HER THINKING ABOUT HER DESIGN.

GLOW SEPARATION IS PHENOMENON THAT HAPPENS IN FLUID DIEYNAMIC WHEN YOU RUN AN OBJECT THROUGH THE BODY OF WATER.

THE FLUID WILL MOVE FORWARD AND BACKWARDS AT THE SAME TIME, CREATING INCREDIBLE PATTERNS.

SHE CHOSE TO WORK WITH A VERY LABORIOUS PROCESS.

MARBLING IS PUTTING OIL OR PAINT INTO A LIQUID BATH AND THEN YOU MOVE, KIND OF COMB THROUGH THEM.

YOU ARE CREATING MOST WITHIN LI LIQUID.

YOU TRANSFER THAT ON PAPER.

HOW DO YOU TAKE A 2-D IMAGE AND PUT IT ON A 3-D OBJECT?

WE TOOK IT TO THE DRY-DOCK IN STATEN ISLAND.

IT HAD TO GO THROUGH ALL OF ITS NECESSARY REPAIRS, FROM STRIPPING IT DOWN TO PREPARING IT FOR US TO BE ABLE TO DAZZLE IT, CREATING A BLANK CANVAS.

THEN FOR ABOUT A MONTH, WE HAD THIS GROUP OF PAINTERS WORKING THERE, BEING A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ABLE TO TRANSLATE 2-D TO 3-D.

THEY WERE THERE EVERY DAY PAINTING.

SHE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MAKING SURE THAT HER DESIGN WAS ACCURATELY RENDERED.

NO ONE HAD SEEN THE JOHN J.

HARVEY.

IT RE-EMERGED WITH THIS AMAZING LOOK.

THE CAPTAIN RADIOED IN AND WAS LIKE, WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED?

IT'S BEEN A NICE REACTION FROM THE COMMUNITY THAT KNOW IT AND ALSO BRINGING A NEW COMMUNITY INTO KNOWING ABOUT THE JOHN J.

HARVEY, THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

WE SOMETIMES FORGET WE ARE ON AN ISLAND AND WE'RE SURROUNDED BY THIS HUGE BODY OF WATER THAT CONNECTS US TO THE SEA.

NEW YORK IS NEW YORK BECAUSE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY THE WATER.

THE HISTORY OF ITS SUCCESS VERY MUCH RELIES ON THIS BODY OF WATER.

WE'RE NOT SO NECESSARILY CONNECTED TO IT.

THIS PROJECT KIND OF CONNECTED US TO THOSE PEOPLE THAT WORK EVERYDAY AND LIVE AND SURVIVE OFF OF THIS BODY OF WATER.