ARTIST ALEX HARTLEY LAUNCHES GROUNDBREAKING PUBLIC ART PROJECT FOR THE LONDON 2012 CULTURAL OLYMPIAD
“This moment marks seven years of work inspired by a simple question: “What if an Arctic island went south in search of its people?” The story of Nowhereisland has begun to capture the imagination of people around the world.”
Nowhereisland the 1/2 million pound Arts Council funded installation project was officially declared a new nation today on behalf of its 2,000 citizens. The declaration was made at 1254 BST in the international waters of the High Arctic.
The story of Nowhereisland began in 2004 when artist Alex Hartley searched for and discovered an island in Svalbard – the last landmass before the North Pole. The island had been revealed by the melting ice of a retreating glacier. In summer 2012 South West England will welcome an extraordinary visitor. Nowhereisland, a new island nation originating from the Arctic, will travel south in search of citizens. This island territory will journey to England and around 500 nautical miles along the spectacular coastline of south west England, visiting seven ports and harbours during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, accompanied by a and‐based, mobile Embassy. Moored initially in Weymouth during the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the island will then travel to a further six port towns and cities, arriving in Bristol for the final weekend of the Paralympic Games on 8 September 2012.
Nowhereisland is an Artists Taking the Lead project, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. It is produced by Situations at the University of the West of England, Bristol and funded by Arts Council England. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Nicky Wilson, Jupiter Artland.
Hartley is currently leading an expedition team back to the Arctic to revisit the island. With permission from the Governor of Svalbard, island territory was collected by the expedition team. This territory was sailed into International Waters on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 September 2011, whereupon Nowhereisland was declared a new nation. This new nation will visit the south west coast of the UK in summer 2012 during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.The Arctic expedition team includes some of the UK’s leading thinkers, including experts in climate change, human migration, global governance, international law and environmentalism, and is led by artist Alex Hartley.
Nowhereisland seeks to redefine what a nation can be, inviting us to consider and debate some of the key issues of our time including migration, nationhood, global responsibility, human rights and climate change – by becoming Citizens of Nowhereisland. Citizenship of Nowhereisland is open to all and to date more than 2,000 people from 32 countries have registered via the project website http://nowhereisland.org