That exorcism in full…

July 19, 2011
by phil
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Full sound recording of Rev Billy and the Church of Earthalujah! exorcising the evil demon of BP from the Tate. 35 minutes. July 18th 2011, 5pm at Tate Modern. TURN UP VOLUME. Starts quietly, levels vary, unadjusted original sound recording. “Got to listen hard: put your ear to the dirt!”

PRESS RELEASE 18 July 2011

Reverend Billy leads mass exorcism in Tate Modern Turbine Hall over ‘taint’ of BP sponsorship
American performance group and British artists, activists and art lovers congregate in call for gallery to end its relationship with oil company

Monday (18 July) Reverend Billy and the Church of Earthalujah choir joined with art activists, artists, Tate members and concerned members of the public at 17.30 in the Tate Turbine Hall to lay hands on Tate Modern and cast out the demon of BP’s oil sponsorship of the art institution.

An exorcism of the evil spirit of BP was performed in a special service in the Turbine Hall of the national gallery of international modern art. The Reverend Billy had an oil-like substance dramatically poured over his white suit by his gospel choir before being escorted out of the building. The gospel choir sung choruses of “Tate takes money from BP, and BP’s money is the devil.”

The event was brought to Tate by five different UK-based groups – Liberate TateUK Tar Sands NetworkLondon Rising TideArt Not Oil and Climate Rush – all of which have staged multiple performance interventions and protests at Tate, part of a growing movement to rid public arts institutions from oil companies with negative social and environmental impacts all around the world.

Reverend Billy, the world famous preacher, said: “For 20 long years, BP has embedded its foulness deep within Tate, using the fair face of the arts to mask the stench of its true nature. Today the possession of this dark beast lurking within the bosom of one of our most cherished arts institutions is coming to an end.”

“While good-hearted, god-fearing, gallery goers glory in the miracle of art, the beast below is encircling the planet with its oily tentacles, destroying righteous communities, poisoning God’s beauteous creations, and bringing us all ever closer to the climate apocalypse. Art will soon be free of big oil interests. Eviction has begun. Brothers and sisters, it’s time to liberate the Tate!”

Chris Sands, a participant in the performance said: “When Tate takes money from the fossil fuel industry it is endorsing climate change rather than backing activity which moves us away from an environmental crisis that is already destroying lives and livelihoods. We have to ensure our public arts institutions are financed responsibly, transparently and ethically for the good of the art world and the planet.”

Tate and other public cultural institutions have seen long-standing public concern about their relations with oil companies. The numbers of artists involved have grown over recent years with many hundreds of artists publicly demanding Tate end links with BP and guerilla art performances adding to creative protests in Tate galleries. The exorcism comes less than a week after a ‘guerrilla ballet’ performance took place at the BP-sponsored Big Screens in Trafalgar Square, highlighting the oil company’s involvement in destructive tar sands extraction in Canada.

BP continues to use its arts sponsorship to project a public image at odds with its operations and lobbying. As part of a multi-million pound effort to create a social license to operate, the company has launched its first television advertising campaign since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which centres on its arts, culture and sports sponsorship in an attempt to alter public perception about the company.

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