BP’s cultural sponsorship seems to be spreading like a rash. They evidently feel they have a lot to do to win back the public’s confidence in their brand. In the latest twist they are sponsoring The World Shakespeare Festival. But fear ye not, as actors, directors and playwrights have piped up denouncing the fearful brand’s despoiling of the favoured Bard. And cheeky activists too, have taken the Bard’s lyrical language and exposed the dirty deeds of the ones that seek to profit from their association with such cultural treasures past. And lo’ did the audience think their performance and message was good… Follow their exploits here.
Even RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill’s new sonnet for Shakespeare’s birthday seems to be cursing the branding of the bard. See what you think…
In the first of a series of extra materials relating to our Tate à Tate audio tour “Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty)” here is the full text of the statement that portrait artist Raoul Martinez wrote and read specifically for this project. A short extract from this reading features near the end of our tour. Martinez was selected for the BP sponsored National Portrait Award in 2011. His notable sitters have included Howard Zinn and the Dalai Lama. He is also working on a documentary series exploring the relationship between freedom and power in democratic societies. [continues...] Read more…
The new Damien Hirst retrospective which opens tomorrow 4th April at Tate Modern has forced a last minute revision of our BP themed alternative audio tour. The Hirst exhibition appropriated the floor space which contained Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds – one of the featured artworks in our Tate à Tate audio tour. This forced us into a last minute revision of the work before the launch – necessitating the selection of a new work, writing a new section of the guide, re-recording our trusty narrator Josephine Borradaile, creating new sound design, re-editng, remastering and re-uploading the work. Our unauthorised audio tour Drilling The Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty) was successfully installed in the Tate Modern on Friday 23rd March. It is part of a series of three works critical of Tate’s complicity in BP’s social and environmental crimes through its acceptance of BP sponsorship. We have archived the Ai Weiwei section here for your enjoyment and edification.
In 2008 Damien Hirst donated the proceeds from the sale of one of his artworks to Survival International. With his new show opening at the Tate Modern, Damien Hirst has a powerful opportunity to make a public statement against the treatment of the Canadian indigenous peoples who have been impacted by BP’s interests in the tar sands.
For more on BP and Shell’s meetings with the UK government in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq see the minutes obtained under Freedom of Information by Greg Muttitt.
What we need at the June meeting is new legal frameworks – not voluntary pledges and empty goals. Phil England looks ahead. Published by Occupied Times and New Internationalist.
We’re living through a particularly ugly period in world history. As Naomi Klein has lain out very clearly in Shock Doctrine and subsequently, in late stage capitalism deregulated corporations and financers don’t just seek to maximize profit at the expense of both people and the planet, they actively exploit disaster. We can see it in the way the partial collapse of the financial system has been used to force national economies to march even faster to the neoliberal drum beat – with cuts in public expenditure and public services opening the way for private investors and corporations to profit from previously off-limits services such as healthcare and policing. [continues...]
If you are in London or visiting some time soon, experience our national galleries anew with this set of three unauthorised audio tours by artists highlighting BP’s sponsorship of the Tate. The files will be ready to download from Thursday 22nd March and the launch takes place on Friday 23rd March. The works have been commissioned by Platform London, Liberate Tate and Art Not Oil. Ansuman Biswas has created a reflective work about the awakening conscience entitled “Panaudicon” for Tate Britain; Isa Suarez, Mae Martin and Mark McGowan have produced surreal and aquatic on-board entertainment for the Tate Boat; and I’ve worked with radio artist extraordinaire Jim Welton (aka Harmon E Phraisyar, L Voag and Xentos) to produce an alternative audio guide to Tate Modern. Files will be ready to download from Thursday 22 March from tateatate.org Invite your friends to the launch party via the Facebook event page. More info here.