Arctic nation Nowhereisland begins tour of south coast in Cultural Olympiad odyssey

By Ben Miller | 25 July 2012
A photo of a tent with the words nowhere island on it viewed upwards under blue sky
© Max MaClure, courtesy Situations
Cultural Olympiad 2012: Nowhereisland, various venues, until September 9 2012

Eight years ago, artist Alex Hartley was on the Cape Farewell expedition – a “cultural response to climate change” taking science, art and education to glacial climes – when he discovered an island in the High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Having become the first human to stand on this melting ice manifestation, Hartley asked the Governor of Svalbard if he could “extract” his newfound land. And in September 2011, after permission was granted, Nowhereisland sailed into international waters, promptly being declared a new nation.

Now this visiting chunk is circumnavigating the south-west, starting with a sailing soiree in Weymouth and stopping off at secret coves and beaches along the coast, as well as agreed mooring points at ports and harbours.

Helpfully, the Nowhereisland Embassy is along for the ride, packed with objects and information on the island manned by Ambassadors ready to answer questions and lead a programme of accompanying events.

The Embassy is intended as the project’s legacy (backed by an online resource, with a touring project planned), but visitors will also be able to register for citizenship of the island, shaping its constitution and even vying for a piece of the odyssey they can keep. Just make sure the freezer’s working.


More pictures:

A photo of three women in matching shirts smiling outside a touring van
© Max MaClure, courtesy Situations
A photo of a group of people walking through a street carrying a banner for an island
© Max MaClure, courtesy Situations
A photo of a group of people walking through a street carrying a banner for an island
© Max MaClure, courtesy Situations
A photo of a van with the words nowhere island stamped above it under a blue sky
© Max MaClure, courtesy Situations
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