The Writings on the Walls # 1

To capture the essence of C Words, African Writers Abroad have released a constant stream of poetry online and offline, on physical and virtual walls. A leaflet will also soon be made available in the Arnolfini for visitors to take away which features this poetry together with newly commissioned work, contributions from participants on the...

Iraq: New contracts will undermine Iraqi independence

The mega-oil deals signed and pledged in Iraq in last week have been major news, marking another step by the oil majors back into a country that liberated itself from the “robbery and exhaustion practiced by the monopolistic oil companies” in 1972. But the full consequences of the agreements have been hard to untangle. BP and Chinese...

where are we right now?

We’re into the second half of the run now, and on a day to day basis everything is running pretty well. There have been some really great moments recently: * the Institute’s barge moored outside Arnolfini, completely wrapped in their 30m red banner, emblazoned “The concept of culture is deeply reactionary” and “With our £2000...

Shaping the Future: global art residency launched by families of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Stephen Lawrence

‘Shaping the Future’: a PLATFORM residency programme of art, activism and education launched with a fiery spectacle at 5pm on Tuesday 10th November at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Lewisham, London. ‘Shaping the Future’ is led by the arts and ecology group PLATFORM, and speakers at the launch included the Mayor of Greenwich, Doreen Lawrence,...

Eni’s new tar sands projects threaten Congo rainforest

Plans by oil company Eni to develop tar sands and oil palm in the Congo Basin risk irreversible damage to biodiversity, local communities and our climate, and break the company’s own guidelines, according to Congolese human rights organisations and their international partners. In a report published today, Energy Futures? Eni’s Investments in tar sands and palm...

Challenging Climate Racism

Under the capitalist system, in order that England may live in comparative comfort, a hundred million Indians must live on the verge of starvation – an evil state of affairs, but you acquiesce in it every time you step into a taxi or eat a plate of strawberries and cream. The alternative is to throw...

Totally fantastic day yesterday

TOTALLY EPIC DAY yesterday with African Writers Abroad, Virtual Migrants, and Remember Saro-Wiwa events. I was completely inspired by the energy flowing around all day – from the workshops in the Meeting Room to performances in Galleries 3 and 4. The place was buzzing. I had been having conniptions earlier in the week about getting...

Imagination Feeds on Disobedience

Together with other PLATFORM collaborators I have been spending time in the gallery, talking with visitors about their responses to the C Words exhibition. Today, one such conversation elicited a comment which has stayed with me all day: “It’s interesting – but its not art is it.” “Why do you say that?” James responded. “Because...

Oil extraction → debt → oil extraction → debt → …

A new report published today by World Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign on climate debt makes the connection between overuse of the world’s resources and unjust financial debt and poverty in the Global South. The climate debt crisis: Why paying our dues is essential for tackling climate change describes how Western governments and their international financial institutions like the IMF and...

The Journey Home

Today PLATFORM opened a discussion on what happens after 29th November, when the C Words season at Arnolfini comes to an end. Since before PLATFORM arrived in Bristol those of us involved at the hub of the C Words melee have been meeting weekly to discuss the enormous logistics of the project: two months and...

Roaming Around the Lesser Debris of History

Today I sat, I took time watch Ursula Biemann’s film Black Sea Files. The film is showing as a video installation in gallery five at Arnolfini until Sunday 8th November. The film explores the lives of oil affected communities, from Baku in Azerbaijan, through Georgia to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, tracing the route of BP’s...

The Responsibility of the Artist

For many people the C Words season raises questions about the responsibility of artists and creative practitioners in the context of the social and environmental challenges which our society faces. Last week’s Embedded conference sought – in part – to explore this issue. For some – Art sits outside a frame of responsibility – Art might be seen as...