All the Bells

The London 2012 Olympics are under way and Chicago joined friends in the United Kingdom in ringing in the games with Martin Creed’s participatory Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes.

Here at the MCA, we lacked a physical bell so we set our computers to ring digitally at 2:12 am so we would be ringing at the same time as those in the United Kingdom.

Further to the south, University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel rang their bells too, sounding out “God Save the Queen.”

The project seems to have gone off without a hitch. Well maybe there was one problem, but at least no one was hurt.

Or, if you prefer, the disco remix version.

With the London Olympics under way, the United Kingdom and Martin Creed rung in the games with Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes performed precisely at 8:12 am on July 27.

The Independent recently wrote an insightful profile of Creed, detailing his personal life, musical interests, and art, not all of which are easily separated.

On his inspiration to become an artist: “They [my parents] are Quakers and I grew up being taught that art and music were the highest things you could do.”

On his motivation to make art: “Often I wake up with a horrible feeling, like a nightmare carried into the day. Trying to make something that someone else might like makes me feel better.”

Read the whole profile from The Independent.

On the 27th of July, at 8:12 am, London time, Martin Creed’s Work No. 1197: “All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes” will be realized as Londoners ring whatever bells they have as part of the celebration for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. You can see what bell events are planned and by whom (the Royal Navy is even participating) on the All the Bells website.

In celebration of the London 2012 Games and Martin Creed’s yearlong residency here at the MCA, and in a spirit of unity with those participants in the United Kingdom, the museum will also be ringing a bell simultaneously with our European counterparts—meaning we will be ringing a bell or two at the early hour of 2:12 am. We will document the ringing and post it at a later date, please continue to check this blog or follow us on Twitter for updates.

The MCA is also honored to be joined by other bell ringers in the city, including the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel.

You can also ring along with Martin Creed here in Chicago by ringing your bell at 2:12 am (CST) “as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes,” according to the instructions for the artwork. Add your event here, or check if there’s one near you.