Amelia’s Magazine | Licence to spill! are keeping it clean

Three oil cans; Tate Summer Party, remedy Photography by Immo Klink

Gushing from floral skirts, spilling elegantly from giant white eggs, jetting from paint tubes across the floor of the iconic Tate Turbine Hall, 2010 has witnessed a flood of oily resistance against oil sponsorship in the arts. The likes of art activist group Liberate Tate have generated a fierce debate in the art world around oil, ethics and sponsorship.

Plans are afoot to spring board the campaign into the New Year, with a high energy, high profile mainstream gallery event to attract lots of new people and to keep the pressure up. In an innovative bid to raise dosh for the project London creative campaign group PLATFORM has launched a crowd- funding initiative at Indiegogo. The idea is that people can give what ever little bit of cash they can, and by Christmas there will be enough in the pot to book a snazzy venue and put on a truly sensational participatory exhibition in early 2011.

Tate Summer Party, Photograph by Immo Klink

This is all about entry level direct action at it’s most fun. More than that, the campaign is in with a real chance of seeing a tangible result. Protestors forced Shell to back out of the Natural History Museum, and with the right pressure applied to the right places there is no reason why all oil sponsorship in the arts can’t go the same way as tobacco sponsorship in sport; down the pan. The folk at PLATFORM hope to put on educational workshops to get people clued up about the effects of the oil industry, and to host debates about the role our public art institutions play in the branding campaigns of these oil multinationals. Most importantly they hope to empower people to get involved in active resistance and creative interventions.

Easter egg spill with wiggle, British Museum Photography by Amy Scaife

They would be really grateful if you could help by spreading the word forwarding the link bellow by email and facebook, and telling your economically empowered friends and relatives. What ever you can or can’t do to help fundraise, everyone is invited to the event itself, which is likely to be held in January (email sophie@platformlondon.org for more information about getting involved).

To say thank you for donations over £16 ($25) they are offering some quirky perks, including sets of beautiful postcards ideal for a Christmas stocking, invites to the first night private viewing of the exhibition, and limited edition hand made, ‘BP branded’ paint tubes full of molasses, hot from the intervention at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

So whether you have some cash to spare – or if you just want to get messy with molasses – get involved!

Categories ,Crude Awakening, ,dirty oil, ,Dirty Oil Money, ,Indiegogo, ,Liberate Tate, ,License to Spill, ,platform, ,RBS, ,Tar Sands, ,Tate Modern, ,The Royal Bank of Sustainability

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Amelia’s Magazine | Smash the Piggy Piñata at the Annual International Banking Conference

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

This morning I made an especially early start so that I could take a whack at a ‘piggy piñata’ outside the Annual International Banking Conference held in Threadneedle Street. Sometimes I think that I live just a little bit too close to the axis of financial evil that is the City of London, viagra buy but it sure makes it handy to get along to protests.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

In collaboration with the UK Tar Sands Network, Climate Camp London decided it would be a good idea to swing by this conference – attended by RBS head honchos Stephen Hester and Gordon Nixon – as a preclude to the main national Climate Camp, to be held somewhere near the headquarters of RBS outside Edinburgh in Scotland this summer. You probably don’t need me to tell you that RBS was bailed out by the tax payer and is now 83% owned by us – yet the bank continues to invest in the Alberta tar sands, the most destructive fossil fuel process ever – as well as funding UK based fossil fuel extraction projects such as open cast coal mines. Yes, open cast coal mines really are reopening up and down our countryside, ruining not only the landscape but the health and happiness of locals: except in the 21st century huge diggers are used to slash open the landscape, instead of sending men down into the pits. And we have no say in this. Now don’t that feel a little unfair? For this reason RBS is the main target for Climate Camp actions this year and especially at our annual summer camp between 19th-25th August.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

“Have a bash at the bankers,” we offered passers by as we swung at the rather impressive treasure box/piggy piñata with a not-nearly-as-resilient green plastic cricket bat. Many bemused bankers snapped up a copy of our Never Mind the Bankers paper, cunningly sold to them as a “Financial Times supplement” or “RBS newspaper” as they entered the venue, but the piñata piggy – despite the loss of it’s legs and head – was keen to hold onto it’s contents till the end. Will the RBS bankers keep flinging (our) dosh at fossil fuels extraction? Will they? Finally we were showered with… a batch of Oyal Bank of Scotland bank notes.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

But this was just a warm up. Will you be joining us in August? Right now local groups up and down the country are arranging travel up to Scotland, so do find yours and get involved. If you’re based in London and would like to find out more about how to get involved in Climate Camp here you can attend a Welcome to Climate Camp session this weekend. Join the Facebook event here.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

You can watch my qik video of the piggy bashing here and read more about the open cast coal mine at Merthyr Tydfil here – site of the Climate Camp Cymru last year. Find lots more about the tar sands all over my website… and check out the other amazing action that happened today… when activists from Liberate Tate paid a visit to the BP sponsored British Museum.

YouTube Preview Image

…which followed another Liberate Tate action at Tate Britain a few weeks ago…

YouTube Preview Image

Things be hotting up out there… don’t get left behind.

Categories ,Annual International Banking Conference, ,BP, ,British Museum, ,City of London, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Camp Cymru, ,coal, ,edinburgh, ,Financial Times, ,Fossil Fuels, ,Liberate Tate, ,Never Mind the Bankers, ,oil, ,Piggy Piñata, ,RBS, ,Tar Sands, ,Tate Britain, ,Threadneedle Street, ,UK Tar Sands Network

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tate is complicit in the creation of the largest oil painting in the world.

makeandmend
oil map - abi daker
Illustration to show the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico by Abigail Daker.

You know that huge oil slick? The really foul one currently creating environmental havoc across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, page you might well call this deathly stain the world’s largest work of corporate art – proudly brought to you by oil giant BP, health sponsor of the Tate.

In January this year The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination was asked to host a workshop at the Tate Modern on art and creative civil disobedience. They were not, medications however, allowed to stage any interventions which were not “commensurate with the Tate’s mission” and to make sure this did not happen the workshop was policed by curators.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL-2
Black helium balloons float up to the ceiling of the Tate Turbine Hall. Photography by Robin Bell.

In response to this it was decided to launch a new campaign group, Liberate Tate, with the intention of severing the Tate’s close relationship with climate-wrecking oil-guzzling corporate behemoth BP. A series of planned interventions got off to a flying start this weekend, when a series of art activists managed to join the 10th anniversary celebrations in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern, where they released dozens of black helium balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Attached to the balloons were dead fish and oily fake birds, a reminder that BP will never be able to greenwash its actions away through association with innovative art at the Tate. Sections of the No Soul for Sale event were closed down as employees desperately tried to burst the oil-bubble like balloons, which hung looming over the celebrations.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL
A dead fish on the Turbine Hall floor. Photography by Robin Bell.

As long as the Tate continues to accept sponsorship from BP, a company that pursues oil and money without care for its employees or the looming climate crisis, then its various galleries up and down the country can expect more creative visits from members of Liberate Tate. You can follow Liberate Tate on twitter, or visit the Art Not Oil website for more information.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Art Not Oil, ,Balloons, ,BP, ,civil disobedience, ,Dead Fish, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,Direct Action, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Labofii, ,Liberate Tate, ,oil, ,Oil Spill, ,Robin Bell, ,Tate, ,Tate Modern, ,The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tate is complicit in the creation of the largest oil painting in the world.

makeandmend
oil map - abi daker
Illustration to show the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico by Abigail Daker.

You know that huge oil slick? The really foul one currently creating environmental havoc across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, page you might well call this deathly stain the world’s largest work of corporate art – proudly brought to you by oil giant BP, health sponsor of the Tate.

In January this year The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination was asked to host a workshop at the Tate Modern on art and creative civil disobedience. They were not, medications however, allowed to stage any interventions which were not “commensurate with the Tate’s mission” and to make sure this did not happen the workshop was policed by curators.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL-2
Black helium balloons float up to the ceiling of the Tate Turbine Hall. Photography by Robin Bell.

In response to this it was decided to launch a new campaign group, Liberate Tate, with the intention of severing the Tate’s close relationship with climate-wrecking oil-guzzling corporate behemoth BP. A series of planned interventions got off to a flying start this weekend, when a series of art activists managed to join the 10th anniversary celebrations in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern, where they released dozens of black helium balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Attached to the balloons were dead fish and oily fake birds, a reminder that BP will never be able to greenwash its actions away through association with innovative art at the Tate. Sections of the No Soul for Sale event were closed down as employees desperately tried to burst the oil-bubble like balloons, which hung looming over the celebrations.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL
A dead fish on the Turbine Hall floor. Photography by Robin Bell.

As long as the Tate continues to accept sponsorship from BP, a company that pursues oil and money without care for its employees or the looming climate crisis, then its various galleries up and down the country can expect more creative visits from members of Liberate Tate. You can follow Liberate Tate on twitter, or visit the Art Not Oil website for more information.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Art Not Oil, ,Balloons, ,BP, ,civil disobedience, ,Dead Fish, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,Direct Action, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Labofii, ,Liberate Tate, ,oil, ,Oil Spill, ,Robin Bell, ,Tate, ,Tate Modern, ,The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | What art says about us: An interview with Silent City

The new publication from Silent City, page ‘Art and Activism’, visit web poses three key questions: Should art be separated from activism? Should art have a political value or function? Should art be radical, remedy critical, resistant or subversive? While Silent City has chosen activism as the focus of its examination, the key question is one that can be applied to any art discussion: What do we want art to say about ourselves?

“The political value of art will always be disputed, [but] it cannot be denied that there is a relationship,” says the Silent City trio. “Modern UK activism is incredibly creative, from the actions of Climate Camp to art collectives such as the Vacuum Cleaner. It may not be always overly political, but it is far from separate.” At all times in history, art has told a story about the politics of its time; just consider the identity of the people in the pictures, or the subtle ways in which the artist undermined the status quo.

Claire Roberts at the Silent City symposium. All photography by Sally Mumby-Croft.

Art and Activism
‘Art and Activism’, which Silent City hopes to publish later this year, was created from submissions following a call-out to several arts websites. The final choice was up to Sally Mumby-Croft, Cara Nahaul and Emily Whitebread, who had partnered with Peter Eramian, editor of Shoppinghour, for the project. Designed by Simon Sherlock, the finished product contains a combination of photojournalism, poems, essays and documentation of actions undertaken by the artists.

Last year Silent City presented a symposium (review) focusing mainly on climate change, but this latest publication shows the trio has a broader mandate.

“The original idea behind Silent City was to produce three separate exhibitions, exploring the three pillars of the UN’s 2005 World Summit outcome document: economic development, social development, and environmental protection,” says Silent City, pointing out how these three elements are interconnected. The symposium included references to social and economic consequences of climate change, meaning ’Art and Activism’ felt like a natural progression.


The big issues
As the issue of climate change moves from being a scientific concept to something that infiltrates everyday life, people increasingly feel like they want to do something. But where do we start with such an overwhelming issue?

“It’s overwhelming because it is a crisis that affects humanity as a whole,” says Silent City, referencing Anthony Giddens’ book ‘The Politics of Climate Change’. “He explains that this is precisely one of the reasons why we cannot face up to the consequences of climate change. Society is always pressed by more ‘immediate’ concerns – a situation which is taken advantage of by politicians and policy makers who continue to distance themselves from making radical and concrete gestures towards combating the issues.”

Having said that, the past year has seen activism come back on the agenda in a big way, with widespread protests against coalition cuts and the rise of activist groups.

“[This shows] activism trying to find alternative dialogues and use inspiring visual methods to find alternative solutions. The work of Art Not Oil and Liberate Tate in the face of the BP oil spill is immensely inspiring,” says Silent City, further listing the emergence of Art Uncut, the occupation of the Slade School of Fine Art and the development of the Free School.

Sally Mumby-Croft has created a short film, ‘Edgeland’, bringing attention to how parts of the Hackney Marshes are being sacrificed for the Olympics – but this is an issue where little can be done.

“I wanted to draw attention to the spaces so often ignored or perceived as desolate. [The East Marsh] is a space shared by many people for many different purposes and yet it has been decided that this land will be temporarily paved over to make way for a car park. A space teaming with football pitches and dog walkers will become a concrete block. I think that’s terribly sad, and I think it’s immensely important that this issue is discussed. [… ] Hopefully it will encourage viewers to question their relationship and use of public space.

Ways of seeing
Cara Nahaul, the founder of Silent City, is currently a painting fellow at Jerwood arts centre. Asked about the place of activism in a typical ‘fine arts’ practice like painting, Cara points out how she sees her practice as discussing her culture and background, and exploring it within a larger political meaning.

“I feel that audiences have moved away from the assumption of expecting ‘nice’ things from contemporary painting,” says Cara. “In attempting to discuss painting with video art, we tend to think of a hierarchical relationship in which the visual language of painting came first and cinema learnt from it. Today cinema has developed a strong and autonomous language whilst painting is often criticised for its inability to reflect on contemporary society. For me, this is where I find the freedom for my own work. Whilst I am unsure about a place for activism within painting, I believe that painting can still challenge our ways of seeing.”

Art is rarely created just to be something pretty to look at, but with each added layer of meaning it gets harder for the layman to ‘get it’. Even so, it may be wise to leave reading the leaflet till last, says Emily Whitebread, who is just finishing her degree in Art Writing.

“My personal response to writing about an exhibition or an artist is not to read too much beforehand. This works particularly well if I am unfamiliar with the artist or exhibition, as I prefer to absorb as much as possible from experiencing the work without external influences. I then incorporate these reflections in my writing and only when I feel satisfied with my initial response do I then look at external sources.”


The New Educators
Shoppinghour-editor Peter Eramian has also had a hand in selecting the works that make up ‘Art and Activism’. He describes Shoppinghour as “a hub from which we spawn other collaborative projects and events”, with an ambition to mobilise and inspire creativity in response to political, cultural and social issues. Still, Shoppinghour is not just a tool for political activism, says Peter, explaining how there is a theoretical foundation to Shoppinghour:

“Both Yasushi [Tanaka Gutiez, co-founding editor] and I are basing our doctoral research on understanding the New Educators of our time: individuals and collectives inspired by a heightened critical awareness of culture and the active employment all mediums, disciplines and practices in their critique of society and ruling ideologies. We’re fascinated by the reconstruction of the activist epistemology and its potential to subvert, and hope that through Shoppinghour others too will be fascinated with us.”

The Shoppinghour magazine is currently in the phase of significant expansion, including a new distribution deal that will see the magazine sold across London. Still, the quality of content will remain the first priority:

“We’re certainly not prepared to compromise the quality of our content. But then, neither are we cynical enough to believe that the ‘larger audience’ is somehow less sophisticated,” says Peter, adding that it may be equally complacent to reject the popular and only focus on the opposite, “that which is uncommunicative in its overabundant self-important ‘sophistication’.” So while Shoppinghour wants to tackle its subjects with “substance and gravity”, we can also expect an edge that is “playful and accessible, alternative and punchy”.

Shoppinghour issue 7 – Rights

– – –

Keep an eye on Silent City’s website for details on ‘Art and Activism’ – here.
Sally Mumby-Croft’s film Edgeland can be viewed here.
Cara Nahaul’s work can be seen at Jerwood Space until 26th June – details here.
Emily Whitebread is part of arts group X Presents – read about their projects here.
Read more about the developments at Shoppinghour on its website here.

Categories ,activism, ,Anthony Giddens, ,art, ,Art and Activism, ,Art Not Oil, ,Art Uncut, ,BP oil spill, ,Cara Nahaul, ,Climate Camp, ,East Marsh, ,economy, ,Edgeland, ,Emily Whitebread, ,environment, ,Free School, ,Hackney Marshes, ,jerwood space, ,Liberate Tate, ,London Olympics, ,Peter Eramian, ,Sally Mumby-Croft, ,Shoppinghour, ,Silent City, ,Simon Sherlock, ,Slade School Of Fine Art, ,society, ,The Politics of Climate Change, ,UN’s 2005 World Summit, ,Vacuum Cleaner, ,X presents, ,Yasushi Tanaka Gutiez

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Amelia’s Magazine | What art says about us: An interview with Silent City

The new publication from Silent City, page ‘Art and Activism’, visit web poses three key questions: Should art be separated from activism? Should art have a political value or function? Should art be radical, remedy critical, resistant or subversive? While Silent City has chosen activism as the focus of its examination, the key question is one that can be applied to any art discussion: What do we want art to say about ourselves?

“The political value of art will always be disputed, [but] it cannot be denied that there is a relationship,” says the Silent City trio. “Modern UK activism is incredibly creative, from the actions of Climate Camp to art collectives such as the Vacuum Cleaner. It may not be always overly political, but it is far from separate.” At all times in history, art has told a story about the politics of its time; just consider the identity of the people in the pictures, or the subtle ways in which the artist undermined the status quo.

Claire Roberts at the Silent City symposium. All photography by Sally Mumby-Croft.

Art and Activism
‘Art and Activism’, which Silent City hopes to publish later this year, was created from submissions following a call-out to several arts websites. The final choice was up to Sally Mumby-Croft, Cara Nahaul and Emily Whitebread, who had partnered with Peter Eramian, editor of Shoppinghour, for the project. Designed by Simon Sherlock, the finished product contains a combination of photojournalism, poems, essays and documentation of actions undertaken by the artists.

Last year Silent City presented a symposium (review) focusing mainly on climate change, but this latest publication shows the trio has a broader mandate.

“The original idea behind Silent City was to produce three separate exhibitions, exploring the three pillars of the UN’s 2005 World Summit outcome document: economic development, social development, and environmental protection,” says Silent City, pointing out how these three elements are interconnected. The symposium included references to social and economic consequences of climate change, meaning ’Art and Activism’ felt like a natural progression.


The big issues
As the issue of climate change moves from being a scientific concept to something that infiltrates everyday life, people increasingly feel like they want to do something. But where do we start with such an overwhelming issue?

“It’s overwhelming because it is a crisis that affects humanity as a whole,” says Silent City, referencing Anthony Giddens’ book ‘The Politics of Climate Change’. “He explains that this is precisely one of the reasons why we cannot face up to the consequences of climate change. Society is always pressed by more ‘immediate’ concerns – a situation which is taken advantage of by politicians and policy makers who continue to distance themselves from making radical and concrete gestures towards combating the issues.”

Having said that, the past year has seen activism come back on the agenda in a big way, with widespread protests against coalition cuts and the rise of activist groups.

“[This shows] activism trying to find alternative dialogues and use inspiring visual methods to find alternative solutions. The work of Art Not Oil and Liberate Tate in the face of the BP oil spill is immensely inspiring,” says Silent City, further listing the emergence of Art Uncut, the occupation of the Slade School of Fine Art and the development of the Free School.

Sally Mumby-Croft has created a short film, ‘Edgeland’, bringing attention to how parts of the Hackney Marshes are being sacrificed for the Olympics – but this is an issue where little can be done.

“I wanted to draw attention to the spaces so often ignored or perceived as desolate. [The East Marsh] is a space shared by many people for many different purposes and yet it has been decided that this land will be temporarily paved over to make way for a car park. A space teaming with football pitches and dog walkers will become a concrete block. I think that’s terribly sad, and I think it’s immensely important that this issue is discussed. [… ] Hopefully it will encourage viewers to question their relationship and use of public space.

Ways of seeing
Cara Nahaul, the founder of Silent City, is currently a painting fellow at Jerwood arts centre. Asked about the place of activism in a typical ‘fine arts’ practice like painting, Cara points out how she sees her practice as discussing her culture and background, and exploring it within a larger political meaning.

“I feel that audiences have moved away from the assumption of expecting ‘nice’ things from contemporary painting,” says Cara. “In attempting to discuss painting with video art, we tend to think of a hierarchical relationship in which the visual language of painting came first and cinema learnt from it. Today cinema has developed a strong and autonomous language whilst painting is often criticised for its inability to reflect on contemporary society. For me, this is where I find the freedom for my own work. Whilst I am unsure about a place for activism within painting, I believe that painting can still challenge our ways of seeing.”

Art is rarely created just to be something pretty to look at, but with each added layer of meaning it gets harder for the layman to ‘get it’. Even so, it may be wise to leave reading the leaflet till last, says Emily Whitebread, who is just finishing her degree in Art Writing.

“My personal response to writing about an exhibition or an artist is not to read too much beforehand. This works particularly well if I am unfamiliar with the artist or exhibition, as I prefer to absorb as much as possible from experiencing the work without external influences. I then incorporate these reflections in my writing and only when I feel satisfied with my initial response do I then look at external sources.”


The New Educators
Shoppinghour-editor Peter Eramian has also had a hand in selecting the works that make up ‘Art and Activism’. He describes Shoppinghour as “a hub from which we spawn other collaborative projects and events”, with an ambition to mobilise and inspire creativity in response to political, cultural and social issues. Still, Shoppinghour is not just a tool for political activism, says Peter, explaining how there is a theoretical foundation to Shoppinghour:

“Both Yasushi [Tanaka Gutiez, co-founding editor] and I are basing our doctoral research on understanding the New Educators of our time: individuals and collectives inspired by a heightened critical awareness of culture and the active employment all mediums, disciplines and practices in their critique of society and ruling ideologies. We’re fascinated by the reconstruction of the activist epistemology and its potential to subvert, and hope that through Shoppinghour others too will be fascinated with us.”

The Shoppinghour magazine is currently in the phase of significant expansion, including a new distribution deal that will see the magazine sold across London. Still, the quality of content will remain the first priority:

“We’re certainly not prepared to compromise the quality of our content. But then, neither are we cynical enough to believe that the ‘larger audience’ is somehow less sophisticated,” says Peter, adding that it may be equally complacent to reject the popular and only focus on the opposite, “that which is uncommunicative in its overabundant self-important ‘sophistication’.” So while Shoppinghour wants to tackle its subjects with “substance and gravity”, we can also expect an edge that is “playful and accessible, alternative and punchy”.

Shoppinghour issue 7 – Rights

– – –

Keep an eye on Silent City’s website for details on ‘Art and Activism’ – here.
Sally Mumby-Croft’s film Edgeland can be viewed here.
Cara Nahaul’s work can be seen at Jerwood Space until 26th June – details here.
Emily Whitebread is part of arts group X Presents – read about their projects here.
Read more about the developments at Shoppinghour on its website here.

Categories ,activism, ,Anthony Giddens, ,art, ,Art and Activism, ,Art Not Oil, ,Art Uncut, ,BP oil spill, ,Cara Nahaul, ,Climate Camp, ,East Marsh, ,economy, ,Edgeland, ,Emily Whitebread, ,environment, ,Free School, ,Hackney Marshes, ,jerwood space, ,Liberate Tate, ,London Olympics, ,Peter Eramian, ,Sally Mumby-Croft, ,Shoppinghour, ,Silent City, ,Simon Sherlock, ,Slade School Of Fine Art, ,society, ,The Politics of Climate Change, ,UN’s 2005 World Summit, ,Vacuum Cleaner, ,X presents, ,Yasushi Tanaka Gutiez

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Amelia’s Magazine | Liberate Tate create a Crude Awakening artwork at Tate Modern

blogslam.london

Mr and Mrs Collingham, search illustrated by Krister Selin

When my oldest pal Lydia announced her engagement and subsequent wedding, information pills I struggled to imagine her having a generic do with a meringue dress and posed pictures. Her list of likes include folk and rock music, vintage fashion and living a sustainable day-to-day life. So it was no surprise when she declared that her wedding would take place in the woods.

I apologise in advance if this article may seem a little self-indulgent, and the truth is, it probably is. Well, sod it.


Lydia and Nathan, photographed with a Polaroid SunSnap from 1986

Lydia and Nathan’s day began at the local town hall, with a low key ceremony. I had been so nervous about my continous blubbing throughout the ceremony, but as The Beatles’ Love Me Do skipped on an old portable CD player, my tears turned to laughter. Lydia entered in a floor length Grecian-inspired dress with an artificial pose of sunflowers. Blimey, these civil ceremonies don’t last long do they? Before I knew it, they were Mr and Mrs Collingham and we were ushered outside to pose on the lawn. (Is it a civil ceremony when you get married at a registry office? I hope so).


Camping! Illustrated by Natasha Thompson

Anyway, the festivities began. Car-sharing had been arranged prior to the day (unfortunately there isn’t any easier way of getting around our small network of tiny villages) and guests had been discouraged from travelling from overseas. We arrived at the reception, set in our friend Alice’s beautiful garden. Lydia and Nathan had tried to create a festival vibe, whilst keeping carbon emisions to a minimum. We were all camping! A little camping area had been set up at the entrance to the woods, where tents had been pitched, and for a split second I could have been at any of the summer festivals – coloured tapers adorned the trees and homemade signs with directions had been painted.

Next up – food and booze. The food was incredible, and all locally sourced to reduce the environmental impact. A delicious hog roast, provided by local butchers, was layed on for the meat eaters, but the menu was, by and large, vegan. Lydia’s mum had made a gorgeous mushroom en croute to accompany Ecoworks’ delicious selection of salads.




The food! Illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

Ecoworks is a community organisation based in Nottinghamshire with ‘the interests of people and the environment at its heart’. They work on conservation and restoration projects and run the FRESH project, which champions regeneration, education in sustainability and health.

They also run courses on how to grow their lovely organic fruit and vegetables and healthy eating. Their Harvest Café van caters at festivals and events and specialises in vegetarian and vegan food (they provided spuds with yummy dahl in the evening, and a veggie breakfast the following day – not that I enjoyed any of the latter as I was nursing a hangover).


Lydia and Nathan in front of their teepee, photographed by Paul Saxby


Illustration by Michelle Urvall Nyrén


Illustration of Polly by Naomi Law

Crude by Liberate Tate

On Saturday October 16th 2010 a whole host of activists are gearing up to take part in a massive demonstration against the crimes of the oil industry in central London. The Crude Awakening protests come not a moment too soon for all those who have suffered at the hands of BP in the Mexican Gulf, stuff Shell in the Niger Delta, and at the hands of countless other oil companies at countless other places across the globe. And still climate change continues apace: this year alone we’ve also seen devastating floods in Pakistan and dreadful droughts in Russia as the glaciers at our poles continue to break apart.

BP oil paint tate

Our love affair with oil is of course helping to drive not only climate change but climate injustice, and yet we are doing nothing to finish our relationship: oil is such a huge part of our lives and continues to lubricate not only the pockets of the rich but the pockets of our arts institutions.

For this reason Liberate Tate and other activists staged another intervention at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall yesterday – ahead of a Tate Board of Trustees meeting. I was supposed to head down and join them but I’ve been somewhat snowed under since my return from Denmark, and fortunately it was recorded very beautifully without me by Felix of You and I Films. At around 5pm a number of black robed activists walked solemnly into the hall and formed a circle before placing tubes of black oil paint on the floor. Then one by one they created their artwork ‘Crude’ by spraying out a great starburst of black oily paint. It was signed and offered to the Tate Modern for its collection.

YouTube Preview Image

Although the Tate has signed up to the 10:10 campaign the institution clearly takes a very narrow view of how it can become more sustainable at the same time as challenging climate change. At a time when public funding cuts will force the arts into ever tighter corners it ultimately remains supremely important that influential organisations such as the Tate think long and hard about where their money comes from. Demonstrations such as these can only serve to increase awareness of how we fund our arts. Anyone is welcome to get involved with Liberate Tate, and I would also urge you to sign up for updates from the good people behind the Crude Awakening protest. Put Saturday October 16th 2010 in your diary now.

YouTube Preview Image

Categories ,1010, ,BP, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Injustice, ,Crude Awakening, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Liberate Tate, ,Niger Delta, ,Shell, ,Tate Modern, ,You and I Films

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Amelia’s Magazine | Liberate Tate presents All Rise at Tate Modern

AllRise Tate Modern Platform art intervention
Last week Liberate Tate presented their latest performance All Rise at Tate Modern. Each day three performers entered the galleries to whisper the official transcript of the current BP trial that is taking place in New Orleans, for the company’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico catastrophe. The performers livestreamed themselves using cameras attached to their bodies for the hour-long durational piece, which viewers can watch on the All Rise website here.

AllRise Tate Modern Platform art intervention
When listened together the whispers of the performers creates a cacophony of courtroom language and cross examination questions to BP staff. Liberate Tate suggest viewers play all three videos at the same time to bring out the dialogue between the texts, accompanied by unexpected visual interplay as the performers move around different parts of the gallery. Here, one performer beautifully describes how being part of All Rise made her feel:

AllRise Tate Modern Platform art intervention
‘Earplugs muffled the surrounding noise, so that all I could hear was a clear expressionless voice reading a transcript of part of the trial. With my focus intent on the lens of the camera phone fixed a few centimetres in front of me, my visual field was limited, with only the most striking items beyond the narrow field catching my attention. The straps attaching the pole with the camera to my body were snugly tight, slightly restricting my breathing. I felt isolated, cut off, separated from the world. The film gives a good impression of how I felt – as though I was travelling through the gallery encased in a bubble separating me from everyone and everything. It was disconcerting – paintings, sculptures, installations which illustrate and embody connection to the world seemed to pass by me without my being able to connect with them in the way that I’m used to doing. And I felt strangely claustrophobic, stuck inside my head, focusing on the voice intoning into my ears, on repeating the words without processing their meaning, and on staring into the spyhole directly ahead of me.

What relief I felt at stepping out afterwards into the sunshine, feeling the air on my skin, connecting with others through conversation, looking around at the brilliant varieties of colours and shapes and people…

AllRise Tate Modern Platform art intervention
And it struck me that this sense of being cut off and the feeling of claustrophobia in the performance echoed the claustrophobia and isolation of a courtroom, especially one where a long trial is in process, with no windows looking out. Where the proceedings, delivered in often archaic and certainly formulaic language, and usually with sombre lack of inflection and minimal emotion, can begin to seem unconnected to the real world – the place, the context for the incident under examination. And a long legal process can also give rise to a feeling of claustrophobia in the way that you don’t know when it will end, or whether it’s even going to result in justice.
AllRise Tate Modern Platform art intervention
Performing in All Rise was a strangely disembodied experience. Just as the dry legal process is a long way from the reality of toxic seawater, dolphins struggling to breathe, people’s livelihoods ruined and communities left stranded, a corner of the earth and a wide stretch of ocean poisoned. It was a lesson, reminding me that what matters is matter, the breathing, heaving world that my body connects me to. Every piece of work in the Tate is about how what’s inside each of us connects with what’s outside, and how that connection comes about – through our skin, our eyes, our ears, our senses. When we forget to keep that connection alive, disasters happen, injustice becomes possible. In bringing that disembodied voice of law to the place where connection is celebrated, we make it matter.’

Categories ,#AllRise, ,All Rise, ,BP, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Liberate Tate, ,New Orleans, ,Tate Modern

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