What’s the llatest tactic employed by Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (GULF), the organization protesting dangerous conditions at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi construction site on Saadiyat Island? Subterfuge, in the form of a fake press release announcing a “Sustainable Design Competition for Abu Dhabi Branch.”
The purported competition aims to replace the museum’s Frank Gehry design with a plan that promotes fair labor and ecologically sustainable practices. The Internet campaign follows demonstrations at the Guggenheim’s New York branch from 40 protesters and the Occupy Wall Street Illuminator.
While a link in the release redirects to a convincing looking mock-up of the Guggenheim homepage, the message urges interested parties to send any inquiries to the museum’s real e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fake museum website, globalguggenheim.org, has imported almost all of the real guggenheim.org content, with a handful of important exceptions. Two new main features have been added: the aforementioned design competition, and “Gulf Labor: 52 Weeks,” which links to the protesters’ homepage.
Additionally, the Guggenheim’s “Long Awaited Tribute” to Frank Lloyd Wright now redirects to Radical Philosophy‘s obituary describing artist and critic Allan Sekula as “one of the outstanding Marxist intellectuals of his generation.” The description of the institution’s current Italian Futurism exhibition equates the movement with gentrification, and offers the following Karl Marx quote:
“Improvements” of towns, accompanying the increase of wealth, by the demolition of badly built quarters, the erection of palaces for banks, warehouses, etc., the widening of streets for business traffic, for the carriages of luxury, and for the introduction of tramways, etc., drive away the poor into even worse and more crowded hiding places.
Perhaps most damningly, the link for purchasing tickets has a couple of new headings: “Rethink” or “Hack” your visit, and redirects to occupymuseums.org.