Monday, November 21, 2011

Cultural Olympiad 2012 - Artists taking the lead

You may have heard London is hosting the Olympics next year.  What you may not be aware of is that there is also a Cultural Olympiad 2012 - the culmination of which is the London 2012 Festival.

Below you'll find details of the 12 projects which relate to the Artists Taking the Lead strand of these cultural events.

The Boat Project collect wood from the Olympic Park Velodrome

I'll be writing about other art projects of the Olympiad between now and 2012.


Artists Taking the Lead
Artists Taking the Lead is the most ambitious and wide ranging art commission in the UK 
Artists taking the Lead has been developed by the Arts Council England, in partnership with London 2012 and the arts councils of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Twelve extraordinary public art commissions are being created across the country, one in each nation and region of the UK, to help celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
These are the projects - I've included the brief summary of each project and you can click the links to find out more.
  • the link in the name is to the project's website
  • the link in the URL address is to the page on the Arts Council's website
Communication of the project seems to be a bit of a challenge.  I found that the recurring theme is that the videos made by the artists make sense of the project much better than the text on the Arts Council web page for each project.  

Some projects also lack a website.  One would like to think that the Arts Council's assessment of projects took into account the capacity to be interactive and to communicate a project online - but maybe not?

Tell me what you think - and in particular what you think of the one in your area

East: On Landguard Point - see http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-east/
Suffolk-raised artist Robert Pacitti is developing a series of large-scale, public outdoor events exploring notions of 'home', that will contribute to a feature film in 2012.
I have to say this is the project which I find least easy to understand.  I think the website is the least well developed and not very accessible.

East Midlands: Lionheart Project - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-east-midlands/
Lionheart Project will feature three giant hand-crocheted lions in a custom-built, mobile, glass case. These powerful, realistic sculptures reflect the East Midlands in both symbol and materials; they will recreate Richard the Lionheart's three lions crest using locally sourced Swaledale wool, celebrating the region's rich textile heritage.
This looks fun! This is the website of the artist behind the project - Shauna Richardson's website



London: Bus-Tops - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-london/
Bus-Tops are screen based sculptural installations to be installed on the roofs of bus shelters across London, forming a city-wide exhibition platform for artists to show their work. Currently in prototyping and development (as of August 2010), the installations will be in place from January 2012 and remain in place until the end of the Paralympic Games in September 2012.
I'll be keeping an eye on this one!

North East: Flow - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-yorkshire/
The people, streets, arcades and water flowing through the city are the source of the Leeds Canvas project led by the Brothers Quay, involving Leeds artists and arts organisations.
North West - Column - http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-north-west/
Anthony McCall's Column will form a slender, sinuous, spinning column of cloud rising into the sky from the surface of the water in Merseyside during the Olympic year.
No website for this one - but this is the website of the artist Anthony McCall

South East: Boat Project - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-south-east/
Lone Twin are asking the people of the South East to donate a wooden object of personal significance, be it a favourite pencil, a much used dining table, or the garden shed, to be used in the building of a sea-faring boat.


South East from Artists Taking the Lead on Vimeo.

South West: Nowhereisland - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-south-west/

In summer 2012, Nowhereisland, a large-scale, island sculpture formed from an Arctic island will journey around the south west region of England, stopping at ports and harbours as a visiting ‘island nation’.


West Midlands: Godiva Awakes - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-west-midlands/
Imagineer Productions will bring West Midlands icon Lady Godiva to life as a spectacular 10 metre-high carnival puppet.
Another project with no website.  Lady Godiva feels a bit predictable/cliche - until you watch the video.


West Midlands from Artists Taking the Lead on Vimeo.

Yorkshire: Leeds Canvas - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-yorkshire/
The people, streets, arcades and water flowing through the city are the source of the Leeds Canvas project led by the Brothers Quay, involving Leeds artists and arts organisations
Weird website - might be impressive in time.

Northern Ireland: Nest http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-northern-ireland/
Nest invites the people of Northern Ireland to create art on a massive scale through the simple act of donating an object.

There doesn't appear to be any website - so all we have is the Arts Council page and the video.  The latter explains it much better than the written text.


Northern Ireland from Artists Taking the Lead on Vimeo.

Scotland: Forest Pitch - http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-scotland/

Craig Coulthard's Forest Pitch will create a full size football pitch hidden within a forest. Commercial trees felled to make space for the pitch will be used to create goalposts, a shelter and other infrastructure on site.
If it hadn't been football it would have been golf!  Nice idea and good website too.  What I like about this one is that primary schools get to have a go at designing the football strip for the amateurs who will play a couple of games on the pitch before it is reclaimed again by the forest.

Wales: Adain Avion - see also http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/our-work/artists-taking-lead-wales/
Adain Avion is a mobile art space created from the wreckage of a DC-9 airplane, discovered and transformed by Spanish sculptor and designer Eduardo Cajal. Marc Rees will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Avion by touring the object across Wales in the summer of 2012 as part of Artists taking the lead.
This is the artist Marc Rees' website.


Wales from Artists Taking the Lead on Vimeo.

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