Bells set to ring across UK for Cultural Olympiad
At 8am on 27 July, as the UK celebrates the first day of the London 2012 Olympic Games, members of the public are being urged to ring bells as loudly as possible for three minutes as part of the London 2012 Festival.
The simultaneous bell ringing – entitled All the Bells – is the brainchild of Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed.
“The sound of bells to herald a big event is what bells were made for, which is why I thought it would be good for the Games,” said Creed when unveiling his plans.
The event has received widespread media coverage around the world and is being held as part of the London 2012 Festival, which is currently taking place across the UK ahead of the Olympic Games. Running until 9 September 2012, the Festival features a wide variety of art forms, bringing together more than 25,000 leading artists and performers from the UK and across the world.
Other recent highlights of the Festival include Tino Sehgal’s live performance work, ‘These Associations’, for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall commission, which opened to the public on 24 July, the RSC Young Company’s performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ and the opening of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ – a new play directed by Marianne Elliott.
Ongoing events include ‘Playing the Games’, with Stephen Fry, Clive Owen, Alan Davies and Kriss Akabusi, which brings together performers and athletes in a celebration of sporting and cultural talent at the Criterion Theatre in London, running until 12 August.
Elsewhere, ‘The Olympic Journey, The Story of the Games’ – a free exhibition of the medals, torches and inspiring stories behind the Games – opens at London’s Royal Opera House on 28 July and runs until 12 August, while ‘The World in London’, a major public art project initiated by The Photographers’ Gallery, brings together 204 specially commissioned photographic portraits of 204 Londoners, each originating from one of the nations competing at the Games. The exhibition features images by leading national and international artists including Stephen Shore, Martin Parr, Mary McCartney and Rankin alongside emerging names, which will be exhibited as large-scale posters in Victoria Park in East London, and in the Ramillies Street pedestrian zone opposite The Photographers’ Gallery in Soho until 12 August.
In total, more than 12,000 events will be held before 9 September, with 10 million free tickets and opportunities to take part. The 12-week festival is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, which plays an integral role in the Olympic Games.
Culture has traditionally been an important part of the Games and this is continued today through Olympic cultural programmes such as the Cultural Olympiad, which sees host cities organise a series of cultural events in the build-up to the Games, as well as during the Games themselves. The programme spans myriad art genres and often includes plays, concerts, ballets and exhibitions, which are held within the host city and across the nation.
These artistic and cultural experiences contribute to setting the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events as they allow everyone – sports fans and non-sports fans alike – to get involved and enjoy the magic of the Olympic experience.