Entertainment & Arts

London 2012: Bells to ring in arts festival

Launch of Martin Creed's Work No 1197 at London's Christ Church, Spitalfields
Image caption Creed's Work No 1197 was performed at London's Christ Church, Spitalfields on Friday

A mass bell-ringing will be held to mark the launch of the Olympics as part of the London 2012 Festival, a UK-wide programme of cultural events.

Masterminded by artist Martin Creed, the three-minute nationwide bell-ringing will start at 0800 on 27 July.

Stonehenge, The Giant's Causeway and other iconic heritage sites will be transformed by art installations as part of the 12-week festival.

The arts celebration will cost £52.4m and include 1,000 events.

The full programme of the London 2012 Festival - the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad - was unveiled in central London on Friday.

Music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, fashion and film will all be included in the festival that will run concurrently with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Cultural Olympiad chair Tony Hall said the London 2012 Festival would be "the country's biggest ever cultural celebration".

"In a time of economic crisis I think we need art and culture even more than when the times are good," he continued.

'Wonderful idea'

According to Turner Prize-winner Creed, the nationwide chorus - entitled Work No 1197 - will be "a massive signal that something is happening".

Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 festival, said Creed's "wonderful idea" would get "everyone involved in the opening day of the Games".

The bell-ringing is a new addition to the festival programme with many events already announced.

Other new commissions include the major art installations that will "encourage audiences to look at and experience iconic locations in a different way".

One, created by the Manhattan artist collective YesYesNo, will span the 86-mile length of the remains of Hadrian's Wall.

Another, fashioned by French street art group La Compagnie Carabosse, will transform Stonehenge into "a glowing fairy-tale environment".

In Northern Ireland, The Giant's Causeway will be transformed with a light installation by the German artist Hans Peter Kuhn.

In Edinburgh, meanwhile, runners wearing specially designed light suits will illuminate Arthur's Seat as part of the Speed of Light installation.

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