Saturday, December 24, 2011

A life on the ocean wave

The oil prints featured in this exhibition were made with birds killed by the Rena oil spill. They are just two of an estimated 20,000 birds killed after the shipwrecked Rena spilled 350 tonnes of oil into the Bay of Plenty. The images are a stark reminder of the devastation an oil spill can cause.
No they are not. These Rorschach penguins are a stark reminder that Greenpeace is creepy and weird. People in that organization took dead birds and made prints with them, the way you made prints with half a potato in primary school. Greenpeace posts a video to show how it was done. Making a print with a penguin and the oil that killed it is very peculiar indeed, and oddly reminiscent of the bizarre blood cult that is Roman Catholicism, with its relics and vials of blood and images of its demigod impressed on handkerchiefs and shrouds; as I said earlier, it is (a) creepy and (b) weird.

 Scroll towards the bottom of the page. It deepens like a coastal shelf. At the end is a special offer:
Win A Ghost Bird Print! The prints made for the Oil On Canvas exhibition are all original prints made with the body of a little blue penguin and the oil that killed it 
following the Rena shipwreck in the Bay of Plenty. The prints are not numbered because each is an original. No more will be made. 
Some will be Contributed to galleries and some will be auctioned but we’re giving one away right here...
Each print is an original, you see. It is a monoprint. Most artists make monoprints with a woodblock or with lino. Greenpeace use penguins.

Like everything other thing Greenpeace does, this was a group activity. As the photographs show, many people were involved and they all had a special uniform. Whenever Greenpeace does anything, there is always dressing-up to do. They wear special clothes, fit for the purpose and identical with each other; just like the... no, let's not go there.

These people made art with with their penguins. Art is a collective activity - there is no artist, only the art - which serves the purposes of Greenpeace. Everything Greenpeace does serves its sole purpose, which is to promote itself.

There are many environmental organisations which go about their work of protecting the environment. Greenpeace is much better known than these organisations because it is not one of them. It is a media corporation. It produces media events, situations if you like, about the environment. These encourage people to support Greenpeace, so that it can promote itself further. It spends a lot of the money it raises on ships and inflatables, so it can make more situations.

Of course, to criticise Greenpeace is to invite complaint from the glassy-eyed trustafarians who make up its volunteer membership. These are the people who wear the uniforms on the ships and inflatables, the people who press the penguins on to the paper. These are the people who will pounce on you on the street, brandishing clipboards and photographs of dead animals. These people are very committed. There are other chuggers in Greenpeace who are paid commission, but they have lesser status because the are thought to be less committed. If they do not make targets for their chugging, they are sacked. The volunteers, the gilded youth of Greenpeace, go everywhere their masters demand and do everything asked of them, whether it be manning an inflatable or pressing a penguin.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and here is a Canadian woman with a ukulele and a dead bird:


dyanc said...

I thoroughly agree with you about that pointless, tacky and attention seeking mistake for art, and I also agree that Greenpeace has become a media corporation staffed by people with commerce and communications degrees who have lost sight of their original goals.

But - whatever its present form, it's worth remembering Greenpeace began as a tiny, local group who were desperate to stop a series of underground nuclear explosions, located at the top of a huge fault line. These bombs went off right after communities in that area had been devastated by one the biggest earthquakes in history.

The Don't Make a Wave Committee formed to organise protests to the Amchitka blasts (Project Milrow), and the ensuing voyages by the Phyllis Cormack and the Rainbow Warrior were, in my estimation anyway, admirable attempts to bear witness in a very brave and - as we ultimately learned in Auckland harbour, dangerous mission.

However comical, toothless and self serving Greenpeace has become, and however many ideological and phiisophical ructions occurred in their organisation (many, and right from the start) they still remain one of the only entities on earth that even try to highlight some of the most egregious violations of this planet.

If this clip posts, you all might be interested in some of this old footage - and I hope I'm not violating someone's copyright here -

dyanc said...

Uh, that link didn't post, so here goes again - and in the likely event it doesn't work - there is some interesting footage of the Milrow blasts, and the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that preceded that series of tests.