What the press say about Tate à Tate

May 14, 2012
by phil
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Here’s a selection of press quotes about our Tate a Tate audio tour Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty).

“No doubt this is one innovation that the Tate feels it could do without.” Rebecca Armstrong, The Independent (19 April 2012)

“A tricky and thought-provoking topic, handled with imagination and a lightness of touch.” Rahul Verma, Metro (18 April 2012)

Drilling the Dirt (a temporary difficulty) is the most devastating indictment of BP’s sponsorship. Of all the tours, it is the [one] that moves me the most, leaving me in no doubt that BP’s sponsorship needs to be challenged.” Sarah Cowan, Occupied Times (May 2012)

“This isn’t a lecture, or an ordinary audio tour. But it is a phenomenal way to spend a free weekend. The three artworks come alive through your participation only. Pressing play immerses you in a subversive world that six award-winning artists narrate. The listener enjoys a sensory experience beyond the curator’s wildest corporate-sponsored dreams, being led gradually through the galleries, spliced together with a cacophony of sounds, spoken word, rhythmic beats and poetry. The triumph is that this is a highly effective, unpreventable form of non-violent dissent – and also a sensual, personal work of art in its own right.” Tim Sowula, The Kentish Towner (6 April 2012)

“England and Welton’s Tate Modern piece is a note-perfect subversion of the standard form. What enables this process to be rerun without exhausting the listener is the wealth of information presented, the convincing way it cleaves to the artworks chosen and the use of the building’s own acoustic properties – the Turbine Hall’s echo and ambient gallery chatter – to create a seamless sense of place … Today direct action, text or speech – particularly if it relates to the UK – seems to be regarded as the unsophisticated sibling of criticality: that emasculated but institutionally acceptable state of political awareness where a certain bureaucratic aesthetic is de rigueur. Liberate Tate and Platform are encouraging us to look at things differently, and with Tate à Tate, a portable piece of cultural activism for the modern age, their message has the potential to reach, engage and politicise a much wider audience.” Morgan Quaintance, Art Monthly (April, 2012)

“Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty) is a more playfully subversive guide, which employs selected artworks, as illustrations of, or metaphors for, aspects of BP’s operations. While touching on more sobering material, including BP’s history in Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan and the human cost of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Drilling the Dirt (A Temporary Difficulty) is also a bit more fun, managing to inject humour into the format and actively enlisting the listener in an occasional self-conscious subversion of gallery norm. I’m not going to walk into either Tate Britain or Tate Modern again without remembering what I’ve heard there before and nor am I going to see BP’s logo without immediately associating it with corporate irresponsibility. Tate à Tate presents a thought-provoking experience that asks its listeners to question the ethics of Tate’s acceptance of BP’s sponsorship and to consider this in the wider context of escalating global climate change. It’s well worth taking the tours, wandering the galleries and listening in. Increase the burden of your awareness of these issues, and then choose what your next step will be.” Dr Andrew Filmer, Red Pepper (10 April, 2012)

“An interesting example and provoking of cultural hacking. What I find interesting is the potential to redefine events, experiences, spaces and environments (in the ecological meaning and current meaning). There are similar examples of things in Wales that deserve a similar kind of project.” Carl Morris, Y’Twll ar (8 May, 2012)

“I downloaded Drilling the Dirt (a temporary difficulty), the audio guide for Tate Modern – an insightful and thought-provoking introduction to BP’s history, its record of causing devastation around the world, and how it has used sponsorship and marketing to create a responsible corporate image for itself … All in all, an engaging and educating experience which encouraged me to become active in the debate around BP.” Alice Turner, Peace News (May 2012)

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