January 5 2012

Video: You and I Films

I learnt last night of a group calling itself 'Liberate Tate'. Their aim is to:

Free art from the grip of the oil industry through creativity.

They have an anonymous 'spokesman', who has given an interview to Artinfo, and there's also a snappy website. Their actions so far have included: 

  • a contribution to Tate Modern’s 10th Birthday celebrations (28 May 2010) by hanging dead fish and birds from dozens of giant black helium balloons in the Turbine Hall 
  • an 'oil' spill at the Tate Summer Party celebrating 20 years of BP support (28 June 2010) 
  • the installation art work, 'Crude' which saw over 30 members of the collective draw a giant sunflower in the Turbine Hall with black oil paint bursting from BP-branded tubes of paint (14 September 2010)

The video above shows one of these events, the 'oil spill' at Tate Britain. It's worth a watch to see how idiotic these people are. First, marvel at their self-consciousness as they prepare to protest wearing veils. Then note how they arrive at Tate in fossil-fuel burning cars (not bikes?). Feel your lip curl as they throw 'oil' (molasses) and feathers all over the floor both outside and inside the museum, and then walk away to leave some other poor sod to clear up the mess (above). 

Liberate Tate call this performance art. I call it making a mess. Actually, it's disgusting (and in the manner of its execution, cowardly). For what it's worth, their actions constitute a criminal offence, under the Environmental Protection Act (section 87), for which the maximum penalty is a fine of £2,500. I guess that explains the veils. Liberate Tate seem to miss the irony that their actions achieve publicity only because Tate (and I suppose by extension, BP) tacitly allows them to take place.

If Liberate really want to free Tate from commercial sponsors like BP, then they should get out their wallets, and give the museum some cash. It'll be more effective than littering. 

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