Omar Robert Hamilton – Egyptian artist

Misc on May 5, 2012 | Make a Comment

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This is the second in a series of extra materials relating to our alternative audio tour for the Tate Modern exposing the impacts of BP’s day-to-day business. Due to time constraints, this interview didn’t make the final edit of our Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty) audio tour. In it, Omar Robert Hamilton sits in the cafe outside the Tate Modern and speaks about Egypt under Mubarak, artistic repression in the country and why he thinks the Tate is wrong to take money from BP. Omar Robert Hamilton is an English-Egyptian film-maker and producer of the annual Palestine Festival of Literature.

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Reclaim Shakespeare

Misc on May 1, 2012 | Make a Comment

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…

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Raoul Martinez – artist’s statement

Misc on April 20, 2012 | Make a Comment

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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…

Damien Hirst appropriated our work!

Misc on April 3, 2012 | Make a Comment

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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.

Tate recently purchased eight million of Ai Weiwei’s porcelain Sunflower Seeds for an undisclosed sum.

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.

Ecocide Trial: The Sentencing

Misc on April 3, 2012 | Make a Comment

The CEOs of two oil corporations found guilty of Ecocide as a result of their exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands are sentenced using the innovative process of restorative justice.

Rio+20 Earth Summit – time to change the narrative

Misc on March 22, 2012 | Make a Comment

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...]

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