Misc on April 21, 2014
Press release * 18th April 2014 * For immediate release
Fourth Anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion marked with Refreshed Tate Modern Audio Tour
It was four years ago this Sunday (20th April) that the Deepwater Horizon exploded killing eleven workers. The subsequent spill and clean up operation devastated ecosystems, wrecked the health and livelihoods of communities and brought the company within days of bankruptcy.
To mark the anniversary and honour the victims Platform is releasing an updated version of the Tate Modern alternative audio guide which takes issue with BP’s controversial sponsorship of Tate galleries.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for an Apartheid-style boycott movement against fossil fuel companies and their funders in order to tackle climate change, Tate’s relationship with BP is becoming increasingly untenable.
The work, Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty), was originally produced in 2012 by Phil England and Jim Welton and has been updated by the artists to incorporate recent changes in the gallery displays.
Phil England said, “Tate director Nicolas Serota belittled the impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill when he described it as ‘a temporary difficulty’. Our piece gives voice to some of those who have been affected, not just by this disaster but also by BP’s activities across the decades. Our aim was to show that the problem with BP is not temporary, but deep, structural and ongoing.”
Kevin Smith of Platform said, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s comments earlier this month give a huge moral legitimacy to our ongoing campaign to bring an end to fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts. It’s time Tate started listening to the concerns of moral leaders, campaigners, artists and its own members.”
The work is part of a triptych of pieces collectively know as Tate à Tate. The other pieces are Panaudicon by Ansuman Biswas (designed to be played in situ at the Tate) and This is Not an Oil Tanker by Isa Suarez designed to be played in the on the Tate Boat that runs on the Thames and transports people between the two galleries. All three pieces were commissioned by Platform, Liberate Tate and Art Not Oil.
The piece is designed to be downloaded onto your mobile phone so that you can listen on headphones or earbuds as you are directed through the gallery. You can also listen to the work online in a setting of your choosing.
The tour can be downloaded from http://tateatate.org/
1. Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in The Guardian on 10 April: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.” (“We need an Apartheid-style boycott to save the planet”)
2. Nicholas Serota told the Jewish Chronicle in July 2010: “You don’t abandon your friends because they have what we consider to be a temporary difficulty.” (“Interview: Nicholas Serota”)
3. More information about the audio tours and artists can be found at http://tateatate.org/