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Climate change activists to ‘seed bomb’ Abraham Cruzvillegas’s Turbine Hall installation at Tate Modern

Organisers of Deadline Festival are protesting the museum’s sponsorship deal with BP

After climate change activists staged a tattoo protest at Tate Britain last week, another environmental group has now taken over the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Platform kicked off its three-day Deadline Festival @ Tate today (4 December), highlighting issues around “art, climate, empire and oil”, and in particular Tate’s sponsorship deal with BP.

The first event took place at 10.30 this morning with minimal interference from Tate employees, the festival’s curator Mika Minio-Paluello says. “Initially we were told by some members of staff that we couldn’t put up a display board or take in any programmes, but we did it anyway and gave them a programme and they didn’t stop us.”

By the afternoon more than 200 people were participating in the festival and the Tate began to restrict its programme. Security personnel prevented the festival organisers from bringing in a collection of 44 large photographic prints from Gideon Mendel’s series Drowning World (2007-ongoing), which depicts people in their flooded homes. The organisers were able to set up only 20 of the photographs in the hall. Nevertheless, Minio-Paluello has been surprised by the museum’s cooperation so far. “Tate probably decided that it doesn’t want to look like it’s shutting down the debate,” he says.

The festival takes place as the COP21 climate talks continue in Paris, where a large number of art projects and exhibitions are highlighting the threat of global warming.

As the name suggests, Deadline Festival wants to highlight the end of the Tate’s BP sponsorship next year and encourage the institution to look towards a “culture beyond oil”. In addition to film screenings, performances, exhibitions, panel discussions and workshops, the festival will include interventions in current Tate Modern exhibitions such as “seed-bombing” Abraham Cruzvillegas’s installation Empty Lot in the Turbine Hall (by throwing sunflower seeds into the soil) and a film installation in a corridor on the second floor.