Capital of Culture cabbies take contemporary art to their passengers: two drivers of Liverpool hackney cabs, armed with an invigorated knowledge of art and a thirst for questioning the meaning of contemporary art, have taken to the road with cameras installed in their cabs to initiate conversations about the 2007 Turner Prize with the people of the city.
Since June 2007, Tate Liverpool has been working closely with taxi drivers from across Merseyside on The Taxi Project. Drivers participated in ten weekly discussion sessions in the gallery, engaging in heated debate on modern and contemporary works in the Tate Collection. They also looked at the history of the Turner Prize and the controversy it provokes. The course has encouraged the drivers to converse with their passengers about art, the Turner Prize and Capital of Culture. Two drivers have had special video equipment fitted and footage of their conversations will be shown at Tate Liverpool inside a fully working hackney cab, alongside the work of the internationally renowned nominees. The discussions offer a snap shot of opinion and feeling in the city about the Prize, and about art and life in general as European Capital of Culture 2008 approaches. The Taxi Project was made possible by the support of Metquarter and Arts & Business.
Filming in the cabs has already begun and will continue until the Turner Prize 2007 winner is announced on 3 December 2007 at Tate Liverpool.
Speaking about his involvement in the project, taxi driver Brian Bretherton said:
The course at Tate Liverpool really raised my awareness of art and different artists. I meet people from all walks of life in this job and I want to provoke opinions from people who have never thought about art before.
Jean Tormey, Public Programmes Curator at Tate Liverpool commented:
The Turner Prize always creates debate and who better to get Liverpool talking but our own cabbies. It has been great working with the drivers over the last few weeks and we hope that the conversations encourage people to visit the gallery and judge for themselves.
Jennina O’Neill, Marketing Manager for Metquarter said:
At Metquarter we’re really interested in getting the city talking about arts and culture so we were really happy to support The Taxi Project at Tate Liverpool. We liked the idea that our customers could enjoy the shopping experience here and then jump in a cab and talk about art on their way to a gallery.
Janet Dunnett, Client Development Manager for Arts & Business NW said:
We are delighted to be investing in The Taxi Project in support of Metquarter. The Turner Prize is a first for Liverpool and a first for Metquarter. As a new sponsor to the arts they have engaged in a truly innovative and exciting way that reflects their brand and their way of doing business.