Re-Dressing Global Warming

Redressing the issues

For two days in September Sandymount Strand was transformed by a highly unique live art installation. Between Friday 20th and Saturday 21st, as part of this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival, 4/704 was staged, its purpose to highlight the issue of rising tide levels.

Organised by ReDress, a fashion initiative founded in 2008 by Sandymount native Rosie O’Reilly in order to promote ethical practices in the Irish fashion industry, the Sandymount Strand installation involved the use of four dyeing units, used in the clothing industry to dye garments. They rose and fell with the tides, staining the garments with dye visually capturing the mark of the rising tides.

O’Reilly saw Sandymount as the ideal location for such an installation. “I grew up in Sandymount and know from cycling in the area that it’s the most low-lying part of the city, making it one of the areas that will be affected by rising sea levels,” she says. “We’re always seeing people being airlifted off Sandymount Strand during the summer because they don’t understand that the tides come in twice a day and find themselves in trouble.”

John Sweeney, of NUI Maynooth’s geography department tells NewsFour of the importance of tackling the issue of rising tides. “Global sea level is expected to rise by up to a metre over the next 80 years. For low lying areas of Dublin Bay, such as Clontarf and Sandymount, areas with a long history of coastal flooding, stronger defences against storm surges will be required to ensure they are not exposed to increased hazard.”

The event was staged as part of We Are Islanders, an ongoing project and clothing label from ReDress. “The idea of We Are Islanders came from my background in sociology and philosophy, but also design,” O’Reilly says. She decided to launch an ethical Irish fashion label, using research she had conducted over the last five years.

“The label uses my work as a visual artist to raise awareness of issues,” O’Reilly says, “It’s a metaphor to talk about how, as islanders, Irish people can be apathetic towards issues that will affect us, like rising tides.” O’Reilly points to Hurricane Sandy as a recent example of how people can ignore an issue until something catastrophic occurs. “Islands are disappearing as we speak,” she says, “A perfect example is The Maldives, where the parliament recently issued a press release underwater to highlight the problem.”

The unique garments created in the Sandymount Strand installation will be put up for sale during October at the Royal Hibernian Academy on Ely Place. Proceeds will go towards funding further ReDress projects.

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Pictured above courtesy of Des Moriarty: This garment visually displays the mark of rising tide levels.

By Eric Hillis