The London 2012 Olympic Committee and the Arts Council announce today the shortlist for Artists Taking The Lead - twelve commissions of £500,000 each for projects linked to celebration of the London Olympic Games. 2163 UK artists made proposals and 59 were shortlisted. I am one of the 59. The commissions are allocated regionally so I am down to the last five competing for the North West commission.
It's been a very strange ten days or so - we were told a while back but it has all been strickly embargoed, so I have been working on it without being able to tell anyone. My 'mystery' trip down to London over the last two days (more about this later) was to receive a briefing on what happens next and tour the Olympic Park development prior to today's announcement. The website for the commission is www.artiststakingthelead.org.uk where you can read more about my proposal (below) as it develops and see the other shortlisted artists - though when I looked it had been overloaded by too many people logging onto it. Bodes well for the level of interest, I guess.
So what got me this far?
The Language Moment
In the ancient Olympics poetry was a key part of the celebration of athletic achievement. The 21st Century Olympiad has become a symbol of developing global friendship and so needs again to celebrate the importance of languages in world dialogue. The idea of “The Language Moment” is to create an international gathering of the world’s most innovative artists who use language – from web artists to poets, sound artists to sculptors. The event will include performances, exhibitions, films, readings, sound and media installations, internet projects, broadcasts, public art commissions, publications, schools and community events. It aims to create a moment in which language itself becomes the vehicle for celebration.
I have 7 weeks to map out what this will involve. This event is the opportunity for poets and artists who work with language to carry forward the ideas of the Text Festival to a new level of global profile. I will be inviting many many people to participate and I am particularly open to proposals for projects you would like to see in the event - but you have to be quick.