The Kindness of Strangers

by Sayraphim on September 7, 2012

We’ve been overwhelmed with kindness and generosity on this trip to the UK. We’ve been given accommodation, free drinks,  tickets to shows, people and strangers have offered to help every step of the way. It’s a whole community, it’s OUR community, comprising of friends, acquaintances and strangers. It’s been an amazing trip so far.

At the same time, it’s all so familier. When we were in New Zealand, Wellington seemed jsut like home. It felt like we’d just turned down a street we hadn’t been to before, in a city we called home. It wasn’t that it felt like we were in Melbourne, it felt like all cities were one city, and we were at home there.

Wandering around London and Bristol, I get this same feeling. The buildings are older than in Melbourne, true, but they recall to mind the buildings in Edinburgh, where I stayed for a month during a Fringe years ago. There are more familier things than unfamilier things. There are corners that seem like Sydney, buildings that recall to mind Launceston or Port Arthur, everything is comfortable and familier and we feel like we live here too.

So I’ve been making little works, to leave out on the streets. Tiny handsewn houses with an invitation on them. Safety pinned to each house is a green paper lawn, with Mi Casa Es Su Casa written on it – My house is your house. These will be distrubuted out on the streets of Bristol tomorrow and in London when we’re back there Monday.

But the first was gifted today to Nowhere Island. Nowhere Island is a beautiful project by artist Alex Hartley who took a recently uncovered artic island out to international waters, proclaimed it a country and toured it around the UK for a year. In each port of call, Nowhere Island is accompanied by it’s landbound Embassy, packaged together in an old retro truck. You can become a citizen of Nowhere Island, either online at their website,  or at the Embassy itself. Once a citizen you can help contribute to it’s constitution, helping to build the newest country of the world from the ground up.

I was really touched by the all inclusive open invitation of Nowhere Island, to come be a citizen, to take part in the shaping of a country, to help build a worldwide community of diverse people. To be a part of something, and to become a citizen of art. So today we went to join up and my first action as a new citizen was to gift to one of the ambassadors the first Mi Casa house, which  promptly was placed in one of the Embassy’s display boxes, next to a rubber duck that some swimmers sneakily placed on the island without them noticing.

This weekend is the final weekend of Nowhere Island, so drop by if you’re in Bristol or pop by the website to have a wander around this amazingly beautiful work.

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