Nowhereisland is coming to Weymouth!

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By TheGreenMan | Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 17:57

IN A FEW DAYS' TIME, Nowhereisland will arrive in Weymouth. What is it, why's it coming to the town on Wednesday 25 July-Thursday 2 August, and how will Weymouth celebrate the island's arrival?

Created by Devon artist Alex Hartley, Nowhereisland is a 40 metre x 8 metre floating sculpture, roughly the size of a football pitch. Conceived in conjunction with Bristol-based art production company Situations, "the new island nation" was financed by a £500,000 grant from the Arts Council as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Nowhereisland will tour England's South West coast during August and September, visiting eight ports and harbours. Towed by tugs, the island will be anchored off-shore. And although you won't be able to reach it, you will be able to see it from the shore and visit a land-based "embassy" at each port of call.

Through its website, Nowhereisland now has more than 8,000 virtual citizens. The project is being used by schools as a catalyst for teaching citizenship, geography and politics. It is also prompting healthy debate about nationhood, land grab, cllimate change, local food, local sustainability and hospitality.

Part of Maritime Mix, the Cultural Olympiad by the sea, Nowhereisland begins its tour at Weymouth (25 July-2 August), arriving for the opening ceremony of the sailing events of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The island will be moored in Bowleaze Cove, with its embassy parked on Furzy Cliff.

The island's welcome starts with free workshops at nearby community halls at 11am on 25 July, followed by a citizen march to Furzy Cliff to watch the island arrive from 1pm. There will be live music and performances from 1pm.  

Nowhereisland will stay in Weymouth until Thursday 2 August, with the accompanying land-based embassy open 12-5pm daily. The embassy is a mobile museum, created by Alex Hartley. Comprising objects and documents through which the story of Nowhereisland "unfolds", embassy staff will greet visitors, sign up citizens and run activities for all ages.

After Weymouth, Nowhereisland travels on to Exmouth (4-5 August), Torquay (6-7 August), Plymouth (9-12 August), Mevagissey (13-16 August), Eden Project (Embassy only, 17-18 August); Newquay (23-27 August), Ilfracombe (1-4 September) and Bristol (7-9 September). All dates are weather dependent.

History

Nowhereisland began in 2004, when artist Alex Hartley visited the High Arctic with the climate change organization Cape Farewell. Here he discovered a new island that revealed itself from the melting ice of a retreating glacier.

With the permission of the Governor of Svalbard, Hartley removed the top layers of sediment from the 42-metre island, sailed it into international waters where it was declared a new nation, then it was shipped back to the UK. The removed section of moraine was then installed on an enormous barge and formed into a sculpture, giving the impression of a floating island.

Growing constituency

Although Nowhereisland will exist as a nation for just one year, it has already gathered a growing constituency of citizens, including people from nearly 100 countries, such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, South Korea, Svalbard and Puerto Rico. The island's site asks citizens to make proposals for its constitution, and so far more that 500 propositions have been received.

To learn more about the project, go to Nowhereisland

To book places on one of the workshops in Weymouth and to join the

citizen march, email info@situations.org.uk, or call 0117 930 4282.

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Comments

       
  • Profile image for SailGirl

    I love the fact this has actually been declared a nation, although it's a shame you can't visit it!

    By SailGirl at 07:34 on 04/07/12

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