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London's other Olympiad (the artistic one)

A guide to some of the works in the London Festival

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“No shoes, no sharp objects, no human sacrifice.” If that doesn't make you want to check out Jeremy Deller's gargantuan inflatable Stonehenge, you should probably check your pulse. Did I mention it's a bouncy castle? A giant, travelling, bouncy castle Stonehenge, which you can jump on. For free. Life does not get much better.

David Moir/Reuters

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If you’re up at Hadrian’s Wall – hiking or repulsing barbarians or some such – you’ll see an armada of glowing balloons, the creation of the New York artist collective YesYesNo. Even from the comfort of your chair you’ll be able to see the balloons pulsing with ever-changing colours, and send messages through them, thanks to the magic of the interwebs. Aug 31-Sept 1.

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A string quartet playing in four separate helicopters, 150 performers (some of them flying through the air) and a dancing camel. It's hardly surprising that the six parts of Karlheinz Stockhausen's epic opera have never been performed together until now. The Birmingham Opera attempts the nail-biting world premiere on Aug. 22, with the spectacle unfolding in a former chemical factory (and the skies above). Until Aug. 25.

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Remember the final scene in “The Italian Job,” with the bus hanging perilously off the cliff and the boys having to decide between the stolen gold or their lives? So does artist Richard Wilson, who has recreated the scene on the British seaside. Yes, he's perched a giant bus atop the stunning modernist De La Warr Pavilion in the sleepy town of Bexhill-on-Sea. It sways and shifts in the wind, so let's hope it's a sunny and calm British summer. Oh, wait. Too late.

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