I usually write my own stuff, but this project has so much to write about that I knew I’d be better off letting the Peace Camp website and Fiona Shaw’s video introduction speak for themselves. I’ve added my own comments at the bottom of this post.
Something extraordinary is happening this year as part of the London 2012 Festival. Inspired by the Olympic Truce, whose roots date back to Ancient Greece, renowned director Deborah Warner has been commissioned to create a coastal installation encircling the UK in collaboration with actor Fiona Shaw.
Eight murmuring, glowing encampments will appear simultaneously at some of our most beautiful and remote coastal locations, from County Antrim to the tip of Cornwall, from the Isle of Lewis to the Sussex cliffs. Designed to be visited between dusk and dawn, Peace Camp is a poignant exploration of love poetry and a celebration of the extraordinary variety and beauty of our (British) coastline.
Alongside the live installations, the project will also paint an audible portrait of the nation with the creation of a virtual Peace Camp online. The people of the UK are invited to nominate and record their favourite love poems and submit their own messages, creating an online anthology that celebrates our languages, dialects and accents as well as our rich poetic tradition.
GC: Back to me: This project is funded by Artichoke, an amazing organisation in itself; it creates public space arts projects all over Britain. And this Poetry Peace Camp is an extraordinary concept, partly because it encourages everyone to participate. You can upload a poem of your own, record yourself reading a favourite love poem, suggest a poem or volunteer. The idea is eventually to create an online anthology of love poetry – and what could be better than that? I do urge you to visit the site and find out more about it. If you do, let me know what your favorite love poem is – and did you add it?
How I wish I could visit one of these encampments (see photo above) overlooking the British coast and listen to the quiet murmur of love poetry, but maybe they’ll do it again next year.