Friday, April 22, 2011

art as activism

Much of my work lately has involved the Power Shift 2011 conference and it's efforts to end dirty money in politics and to make BP pay for the damages to the Gulf Coast. Today is Earth Day and so I want to share a video of an unsactioned installation piece a group of activist artists put on at the Tate Britain two days ago, on the one year memorial of the BP oil rig explosion. One year into disaster, oil is still be discovered in the Gulf, the natural habitat as well as the local economy is still struggling, and BP has yet to pay affected communities the recovery funds they deserve.

The artists involved with this action/installation are calling for the Tate to disassociate with BP. From, "Here's the irony, though: Liberate Tate was actually founded during a 2010 workshop on art and activism sponsored by the Tate. During the workshop, the group says, the Tate tried to prevent participants from doing anything that would embarrass the museum's sponsors. Suffice it to say, that kind of backfired."

GOOD then asked, "Is this the most effective way to help communities damaged by oil extraction?" This is a questions I ask myself frequently, in many contexts. Yet, to me, for a group of artists this IS one of the most effective ways for them to help. I hope many of them take their activism to broader venues as well, but they applied the resources they had to a specific target while calling for a real tangible and achievable change. I may have to use this example in my next Theory of Change strategy training.

Originally found on Video.

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