Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Man Is an Island: 20K People Want to Become Citizens of "Nowhereisland"

The poet John Donne said "No man is an island, entire of itself" but a British artist has decided to create a unique art project by having a small, arctic island towed by boat around the world.

Dubbed "Nowhereisland" (or Nyskjaeret in Norwegian), artist Alex Hartley discovered the unmapped island off the coast of Svalbard, Norway, in 2004. (You are correct, grasshopper...Svalbard is the home of the infamous "Doomsday Seed Vault".) He then asked the Norwegian government if he could haul the 144-foot chunk of rock south, which they agreed to allow him to do.

The aim of the art project is to " encourage people to think about what it would be like to start up a completely new nation," Hartley tells The Telegraph, "to get them to make proposals for what life should be like on Nowhereisland, what the constitution should consist of, and so on."

In that vein, over 20,000 people have requested "citizenship" of Nowhereisland. After requesting to become a citizen of the tiny chunk of rock and ice, potential immigrants can then suggest measures and laws to pass, to make the "country" a unique, safe and happy place to live. Some more inspired suggestions from asylum-seekers include a ban on all telemarketers, a free after-dinner drink for all citizens as well as a national currency based not on money but rather "the ability to tell a good story".

If you would like to request citizenship of this Nirvana-in-the-making, you may visit Nowhereisland's official website here.

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