An Arctic island will journey south this summer to arrive for the UK's
hosting of the Olympic Games as a visiting island nation. On its journey,
the island passed through International Waters and was declared a new
nation with citizenship open to all.
conceived by artist Alex Hartley as a nomadic public artwork—as one
landscape moving through another and a symbolic territory representing
thousands of citizens across the world.
The urge to seek out and
possess the remote and unfamiliar landscapes at the 'edges' of the world
has been an enduring creative impulse for artists and writers. Hartley
discovered the island in the High Arctic in 2004 and was the first person
to set foot on this territory. From Hartley's act of attempted colonization
to secede the island from Norway in 2004–6 emerged a multi-faceted
artwork—Nowhereisland—conceived specifically for the
context of the UK's hosting of the Olympic Games in 2012.
Accompanied by its mobile embassy, the island will voyage 500-nautical
miles around England's southwest coast this summer, hosted by eight ports
Nowhereisland is a work of land art for our
times. Its simple narrative premise—the journey of a small migrant
island—acts as the nation's emblematic back-story. And yet,
Nowhereisland is not simply a story. It is above all
sculptural—a provocative act of material displacement by the
artist. If national boundaries shift, if peoples are displaced, if
territorial rights are contested, Hartley asks, why should landscape itself
not move, and what are the implications of this island's journey in
Citizens and Resident Thinker programme
Nowhereisland has already gathered around it a growing
constituency of citizens, achieving an international following from over
100 countries across the world. Over 700 propositions have been made for
the world's first open access online constitution. Every week one of 52
resident thinkers, ranging from artist Yoko Ono to human rights campaigner
Peter Tatchell, have been tackling the question, "If you were to start a
new nation, where would you begin?"
Sign up to become a citizen and
contribute to the constitution at www.nowhereisland.org.
Nowhereisland journey dates:
Weymouth (25 July–2 August); Exmouth (4–5 August);
Torquay (6–7 August); Plymouth (9–12 August);
Mevagissey (13–16 August); Newquay (23–27
August); Ilfracombe (1–4 September); Bristol (7–9
September). Dates are weather-dependent.
Book now for
The Last Days of Nowhereisland, a programme of films, calls to
action, and performances in Bristol at www.nowhereisland.org.
Working primarily with photography, often
incorporating it into sculpture and installation, Alex Hartley's work
addresses our attitudes toward the built and natural environments. Hartley
has exhibited extensively in both national and international exhibitions
including The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2007); The National Museum of
Art, Osaka (2001); and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2000).
Alex Hartley is represented by Victoria Miro, London.
Nowhereisland is produced by
Situations, an award-winning visual arts commissioning and
Bristol, BS1 6UX, UK
Nowhereisland is one of 12
Artists Taking the Lead projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad,
funded by Arts Council England. We also gratefully acknowledge the support
of the University of the West of England, Bristol; Bloomberg; Paul Hamlyn
Foundation; Nicky Wilson Jupiter Artland; the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs; the Royal Norwegian Embassy; and Yellowbrick Tracking.