Tanks on the lawn

The tanks are opening at the Tate on July 18th. These are the very same tanks that stored oil in the days when Bankside served the function of generating electricity by burning Arabia’s finest. And if the ignoramuses in the Tate’s PR department start cooing, and they will – they will – about said tanks being the first of their kind to be used for exhibition purposes then, as is their custom, they will be talking bollocks. There is a marvellous military museum on the Hoy banks of Scapa Flow in which a massive tank used to service the wartime fleet with fuel oil has been turned into an informative and atmospheric film and sound display. Exemplary of its modest type, it is run by a knowledgeable, approachable skeleton staff.

The Tate’s tanks will be used to show film and performance, and other nonsense watchable only by those with link a boredom threshold of hours learned at the knee of State Art’s robots. It opens with a 15-week ‘festival’ “celebrating performance and installation art and the historical works that have shaped it”. This will feature 40 artists from around the world of whom you’ve never heard of for the very good reason that they make ballbreakingly tedious films no one sentient could possibly watch for longer than it takes to fall unconscious under strong anaesthetic. ITV 3 suddenly seems appealing.

‘Highlights’ of the ‘festival’? “Aldo Tambellini will re-envision his seminal 1960s electromedia environments, examining space, light and sound through immersive projections and live