What are they building in there?

Emma Hughes writes about the mysterious piece of art activism happening this weekend

July 5, 2012 · 2 min read

The art activist collective Liberate Tate is asking people to join them for a mysterious event in London this Saturday (7th July).

Liberate Tate aims ‘to free art from the grips of the oil industry’. They focus on BP’s sponsorship of the Tate arguing that the oil company’s sponsorship of this cultural institution is key in providing it with a ‘social license to operate’. In Summer 2010 Tate provided a forceful demonstration of this. As oil was still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Deepwater Horizon, Tate held its annual Summer Party which celebrated twenty years of BP sponsorship. Liberate Tate also turned up creating their own tribute to BP in the form of an artistic ‘oil’ spill.

BP’s sponsorship of the arts has been attracting increasing controversy over the last few weeks as the ‘Reclaim Shakespeare Company‘have taken over stages to highlight BP’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Liberate Tate’s past performances have featured black veils, helium balloons bearing dead fish and a naked person covered in ‘oil’ but Saturday’s event promises to be bigger than anything seen before. To add to the intrigue they’ve created this Tom Waits inspired video. What indeed are they building? If you want to find out add a mobile phone number here to find out the location and wait for the fun to begin on Saturday!


We stand with Jeremy Corbyn

Letter: We stand with Jeremy Corbyn – just as he always stood with us

Organisations and individuals including Kehinde Andrews, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Gillian Slovo, Robert Del Naja and Anish Kapoor urge BAME and migrant communities to vote for Labour

Election 2019: Battle lines drawn in Sheffield Hallam

Sam Gregory of Now Then magazine reports on the candidates vying for votes in a key Lib Dem-Labour marginal

Football’s Race Stain

Racism marred the Manchester derby this weekend. This blemish on the game is an echo of our Prime Minister’s words, says Remi Joseph-Salisbury.


Another World is Possible

Election 2019: The end of neoliberalism in sight?

If elected, the next Labour government can finally depart from the neoliberal consensus and deliver a major shift in wealth and power, argues Adam Peggs

Small change

Simon Hedges shares his famous-on-Twitter analysis of the state of the left today

Election 2019: Transatlantic socialism rising

As Sanders and Corbyn head to the polls, Peter Gowan describes a new spirit of international collaboration on the left


Jeremy Corbyn and front bench holding copies of the 2019 manifesto

Election 2019: An ambitious, agenda-setting and credible manifesto

The 2017 Labour election manifesto was good but the 2019 version is the document we’ve really been waiting for, argues Mike Phipps

Brian Eno: Why I’m backing Labour in Kensington

In 2017, Labour won Kensington by just 20 votes. Brian Eno explains why he's backing Emma Dent Coad in the seat - and why voting Lib Dem is ‘voting Tory without admitting it’

Cartoonist from 1888 depicting John Bull (England) as the octopus of imperialism, grabbing land on every continent. Public Domain.

Election 2019: Education and Empire

Following Labour’s manifesto pledge to educate the public on the histories of empire, slavery, and migration, Kimberly McIntosh explains the dangers of colonial nostalgia in the national curriculum


Support our election writer’s fund

The stakes could not be higher during this election. Help us cover what's really happening

Scottish Independence and the England problem

The Scottish struggle for independence is one of several issues at the centre of debates over where power in the United Kingdom should be located, writes Isobel Lindsey