Script: Largely adapted from the research of Historian Ron Noon
Along with quotes extracted from Tate & Lyle marketing
Song: Sugar Town by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra 1966
Performed by Owen Duff and Lucy Wells
Voice over: Natalia Rolleston and Rosanna Greaves
Filmed and edited by Rosanna Greaves ©2013
We Were Strongly Advised is an 8.30-minute HD video. The film exposes the subversive and calculated construction of Mr Cube, the post-war mascot of sugar manufacturer Tate and Lyle. Used as a form of social propaganda against the nationalisation of sugar production in the late 1940s, Mr Cube is an early example of a company deliberately constructing an avatar in order to have a voice that no individual is fully responsible for. Initially the film appears to have a linear structure as a documentary-style voiceover chronologically traces the history of Tate and Lyle’s relationship to Socialist policy and the construction of Mr Cube. This however is inter-spliced with a second voiceover that emphasises the points of contradiction and manipulation, destabilising the narrative structure to one of cyclical reflection. The film as a whole calls on the viewer to consider refined sugar as a contemporary metaphor for compulsive consumption and to ask what the story of Mr Cube implies for corporate influence on politics and public opinion in an omnipresent digital age.
Shown at: Every Bird Brings A Different Melody To The Garden, and exhibition situated across the Themes River from the Tate and Lyle Silvertown Factory Map