Friday, November 07, 2014

Killing you would be too easy, Mr. Bond

Who was the bright spark that added ‘Saving the planet’ to Te Papa’s key strategies? Headlining “Te Papa’s environmental impact” probably sounded good at the time but it’s a tough one to deliver on in the jump-on-a-plane world of today’s global museum culture. 

Take the James Bond exhibition Designing 007 that Te Papa has its eyes on. It opened at the Barbican in 2012 and since then has been whizzing round the globe (London-Toronto-Shanghai-Melbourne-Moscow) and recently (after 50,000 kilometres in the air) touched down in Rotterdam where it is currently on view. If Te Papa gives it the tick that means bringing the whole shebang back to the other side of the world again. Is the environmental impact even put on the table when programming decisions like this are made? Probably not or the Bond show would have been picked up after its stint in Melbourne.

At the moment Designing 007 is only being tested as an idea via an internet survey but why doesn't Te Papa take its saving the planet thing more public? The museum's carbon footprint is already measured to benchmark and understand its energy use but how about giving all touring shows an energy rating? That way when the public is consulted about whether an exhibition like Designing 007 appeals or not, we can factor in the real environmental cost for ourselves.

Image: Odd Job's hat, recently sold at auction for $99,000