On the 24th March, as the British Museum promoted its Viking exhibition in cinemas around the country using the #VikingsLive hashtag, activists hijacked the twittersphere and sent around 1300 visitors to my spoof film highlighting BP’s greenwash.
A few weeks ago, I came across the British Museum’s short promo film for their flagship “Vikings” exhibition. I was annoyed that the end of the film sported the BP logo as sponsor, especially after discovering that the actual amount this destructive oil corporation gave was just a miniscule 1% of the museum’s annual budget – for which they get an enormous amount of cheap publicity and greenwash.
So, I wondered if there was a way to undermine BP’s cynical marketing ploy by spoofing the film. The idea took on a life of its own when various people came together to help me, and I became director, cameraman, editor, and composer, aided by a dedicated small team of actors, make-up, costume and props folk. We filmed the ‘BP Vikings’ in an occupied fitness centre in Camden, where the squatters kindly gave us use of their hall to hang up a huge green screen for the shoot. Background scenes were filmed in Brighton and North London, and after some compositing and additional graphics, the 75 second spoof was finished.
On Thursday 24th April, the British Museum promoted its exhibition with a live walk-through at 70 cinemas. As a result of activists’ use of the #VikingsLive hashtag, around 1300 visitors watched the video on that day alone.