As part of Look Up, the year-long project that aims to open people’s perceptions of the city and experience it in a new way, Hull 2017 commissioned artist Chris Dobrowolski to make a new artwork in an ongoing collaboration with The Deep in Hull, one of the UK’s biggest aquariums.
The piece considers Hull as a city of migration and transitions, and like the tides that come and go, buffeting the riverbank, his artwork is fittingly installed out in the elements on the waterfront, in the car park of The Deep.
Dobrowolski studied at Hull School of Art and Design, and as a student created a number of imaginative artworks consisting of improvised “escape vehicles” which he would use to navigate around the city. In the video below, he explains his fascination with the idea, and introduces footage of a boat he sailed out of the port as a student, before being intercepted by the harbourmaster.
Washed Up Car-go
For Hull 2017, Dobrowolski has deliberately rendered three vehicles immobile, filling them with pebbles and sand from the nearby waterfront to create little “beaches”. These ordinary-looking cars are placed in the car park of The Deep, alongside those belonging to visitors to the aquarium, demanding a closer look – or an incidental passing glance – to discover what’s inside.
Scattered across the pebbles and sand are tiny projections of films that show the plastic waste washed up along the Humber, highlighting the impact of human activity on the environment. It is from this idea that the piece gets its title, Washed Up Car-go, drawing attention to the grave issue of marine pollution – a cause that is central to the ongoing work of The Deep – and the urgent global need to address it.
By placing the work in the car park of one of Hull’s most popular attractions, Dobrowolski is bringing his ideas out of the confines of a gallery and into the public arena, making it available to people who may never have set foot in a contemporary art gallery.