At Kilometre, we are constantly searching for the latest destinations – therefore, we’d like to introduce you to the world’s newest nation…Nowhereisland.
In this recently founded republic, discrimination, war, call centres, and taking oneself too seriously are all strictly banned, but ice cream is free on Fridays. The embassy is located in a horsebox, and the national currency is not pieces of paper, nor bars of gold – it’s stories. Where is this utopia, you may ask? The answer lies in British artist Alex Hartley.
During a 2004 Arctic expedition to Cape Farewell, Hartley discovered a barren, rocky islet amongst the remains of a melting glacier in Svalbard. He claimed the territory from Norway, declared it a new nation, and recruited 23,003 citizens from 135 countries. This diverse group of Nowhereislanders includes a refugee football team and iconic personalities such as Yoko Ono and Vidal Sassoon.
Towed by a boat, Nowhereisland drifted 2,000 miles across icy northern waters to the southwestern coast of the UK from Weymouth to Bristol, stopping at six other costal cities along the way. At the end of its journey in summer 2012, the island was broken into tiny pieces and sent to participants around the world. The remnants were put onto a rocket and launched into space. The artist’s new Kickstarter-funded book, Now Here is Land, documents the islet’s long route from the Arctic to the Atlantic, into our homes, and then to the Milky Way.
Inspired by the audience involvement seen in Dada and Fluxus “happenings” of the 1960s and 70s, Hartley melded land art and performance art to create this travelling island nation. He hoped to encourage the public to contemplate themes such as global warming, globalisation, human rights and the state of politics in today’s world.
Celebrate Nowhereisland and the release of Now Here is Land with a book signing and round-table discussion at Victoria Miro gallery if you’re in London on the 1st of December.
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW.