Nowhereisland is coming to Torquay!
By TheGreenMan | Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 19:40
IN A FEW WEEKS' TIME, Nowhereisland will arrive in Torquay. What is it, why's it coming to the town on Monday 6 August-Tuesday 7 August, and how will Torbay celebrate the island's arrival?
Nowhereisland will be moored south of Torquay Harbour with its embassy on Haldon Pier from 6-7 August. Photo by Max McClure. Courtesy Situations
The Nowhereisland Embassy comprises objects and documents through which the story of Nowhereisland "unfolds". Photo by Max McClure. Courtesy Situations
Artist Alex Hartley, the creator of Nowhereisland, outside the land-based embassy. Photo by Max McClure. Courtesy Situations
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.
Nowhereisland begins its tour at Weymouth (25 July-2 August), followed by Exmouth (4-5 August) and Torquay (6-7 August). During its two-day visit to Torquay, the floating island will be moored south of Torquay harbour. The best view of the island will be from Haldon Pier, near Living Coasts. Nowhereisland's accompanying land-based embassy will be based on Haldon Pier itself. A mobile museum, created by Alex Hartley, it comprises objects and documents through which the story of Nowhereisland "unfolds". Embassy staff will greet visitors, sign up citizens and run activities for all ages.
Executive Lead for Arts and Culture and Regional Arts Council Board Member, Councillor Dave Butt says, "The English Riviera is gaining a well deserved reputation for hosting amazing art and we are thrilled that Nowhereisland will visit Torquay. The sight of an Arctic island in Torquay harbour will certainly attract new visitors to the area, bringing a real boost to the local economy, and raising its profile as one of the cultural attractions in the South West."
From Torquay, Nowhereisland travels on to 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.
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.
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