Thursday, 26 January 2012


Today I became a citizen of Nowhereisland
This is part of a public art project which will form part of the Cultural Olympiad this summer.  There are 12 art projects running across the UK and this one is based in South West England.  In fact it will be floating round the coast.

This is what the website says “Nowhereisland has already come to represent the possibilities for thinking about our values and beliefs as citizens. 52 Resident Thinkers from around the world are contributing to a year-long programme of Letters to Nowhereisland. Over 4000 people have already signed up to become citizens of Nowhereisland and will begin collectively writing the island’s constitution from January 2012 […] in a time of global crisis, it opens up an opportunity to debate and consider important global questions that affect us all.
Two of those resident thinkers are people I really admire – Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall and Keri Smith and they are giving the citizens the chance to write letters too.

So if you had the chance to start again from scratch what would you do?
I’d like a place of community.  Somewhere where I know my neighbours.  Where I can buy all my food from a farm just down the road.  Where I can buy all my clothing from someone else down the road, or even make my own.  Where people respect each other and their skills.
The best example I can give of this is an episode of Grand Designs that I watched last year.  A stonemason was renovating an old stone pump house in Cornwall.  If he needed help with plumbing he got his mate round and then paid him back by spending the equivalent time building him a shed for his tools or what ever he needed.  He did this over and over again with all the trades that he couldn’t do himself.  I would love to have the skills to be able to exchange in this way.
What I think we really need to work on is greed and this consumer culture that we currently exist in.  Why do I need this new product of yours – phone, computer, car, etc – the one I have works fine or, even, why do I need it in the first place?

Owning things doesn’t make me happy.  Doing things makes me happy.  Helping others makes me happy.  Creating things makes me happy.”

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