Nowhereisland – A creative exploration of nation-ism!
by Lucy Gilliam
If you go down to the beach today you are sure for a big surprise…
If you go down to the beach today you’ll never beleive your eyes…
The arctic melted and birthed a new land…
It sailed down south to moor off the sand
Today’s the day that I became a Nowherian…
This week I ventured to Weymouth to find out more about an unusual piece of rock called Nowhere island. Nowhere island is a migrating island recently released from the Arctic from the melting ice and has journeyed 2000 miles south through international waters to become the worlds newest island state with citizenship open to all. Nowhere island is currently moored just off the beaches of Bowleaze coveway and is inaccessible to public. However the ‘Embassy’, a beautiful mobile cabinet of curiosities, is open daily upon the cliffs for all to visit. Nowhere island will tour the south west over the next 6 weeks culminating in Bristol from 7th September for its last days.
Nowehereisland is the brain child of Artist Alex Hartley who voyaged to the Arctic in 2004 and discovered an island revealing itself from a melting glacier. He was the first person to set foot on the island and you can view his muddy wellie at the embassy. He then set about exploring sovereignty with the Norwegian government.
Citizens of nowhereisland are invited right away to start shaping the principles on which the nation is built. A notice board with the evolving constitution is displayed for all to edit, approve and add to.
Upon learning about this new land I signed up right away. Nowhere island arrived in Weymouth on Wednesday 25th of July drawing a massive crowd of onlookers and serenaded by citizens, surfers, school children and shanty singers. A significant part of the project has been local engagement in schools led by Nowhere ambassador Michael. It was a joy to see children rifling through the cabinets, quizzing the ambassadors and scrawling their ideas of the nation they wish to see.
Nowhereisland is part of the 2012 cultural olympiad and is the only visiting nation to bring itself to the Olympic games. Weymouth is the home of the Olympic sailing events which I don’t think you’ll be surprised that I’m really quite excited about! Team GB have their strongest sailing team ever. Fingers crossed for Ben Ainslie winning his 4th gold olympic medal!
One possible criticism is that there are significant costs and emissions from carrying out this project from the fuel to move the island to all the materials used in making and travelling with the embassy. Maybe those would have been better spent on building wind turbines or insulating homes.
But I have to say I was really inspired by the banners, the evolving constitution and the creative way the project invites people to come up with their own ideas. It is a really creative way to engage with ideas of climate change, nationality, migration, democracy, utopian societies. And I think it is really important that everyone is included in designing the world we wish to see and be part of.
How would you receive a migrant island to your home town?