On 13 and 14 June CCW Reader Hayley Newman participated in Liberate Tate’s performance/installation/occupation in the Tate Turbine Hall called Time Piece. Liberate Tate is a network founded in 2010 and dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding.
Liberate Tate described the work as, ‘…a durational performance using words, bodies, charcoal and sustenance. The performance takes place from High Tide on 13.06.15 (11:53am) until High Tide on 14.06.15 (12:55pm). A textual intervention, Time Piece is a tide of stories and narratives flowing in waves up the slope of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The texts are fictional and factual responses to art, activism, climate change and the oil industry. The performance explores lunar time, tidal time, ecological time, geological time and all the ways in which we are running out of time: from climate change to gallery opening hours; from the anthropocene to the beginning of the end of oil sponsorship of the arts.
Liberate Tate creates unsanctioned live art inside Tate spaces to free Tate from BP. In 2015, it was revealed that BP sponsorship is worth less than half a percentage of Tate annual spending, and is around forty times less than the sum donated by Tate Members last year. BP’s oil spills are ecological iconoclasms. The company’s presence in galleries and museums is a stain on our culture. When will BP’s time be up at Tate? As the age of oil draws to a close and the world looks towards the Paris Climate Summit to tackle climate change, Tate must step into the future and drop BP. #TimePiece‘
One of the texts used was Newman’s publication, Common, ‘a novella set in the City of London over the summer of 2011. Written in the run-up to Occupy, it encompasses a crash in global markets caused by the downgrading of American debt, turbulence in the Eurozone and protests/riots that started in London before spreading across Britain. Written as Self-Appointed Artist in Residence, events in Common take place over a day. The book brings together the past and present/personal and political and asks; how can lay people understand more about the current economic crisis? How might subjectivity and political agency be combined to create a text that is both immediate and reflective? How might we make sense of crisis from within? What is the impact of the economy on the environment? Common is a metaphor for collapse (social, environmental and economic).’