Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ginger's Guide to London Plinths

Originally designated for a statue of William IV , Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth stood empty for many years. Ten years ago the Royal Society of Arts decided to change that, commissioning artists to fill the plinth for fixed periods. The programme has yielded some interesting results. Some (Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant, Rachel Whiteread's inverted plinth) I liked. Some (Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel) I really didn't. The current 'installation' is rather different. Anthony Gormley (of whom I've been a fan since Event Horizon) has launched the 'One & Other' project where the plinth will be occupied by... people. For more than 3 months the plinth will be continually occupied by selected members of the public who each get to be public art for an hour.

Gormley's Event Horizon
Tonight when I went past the Anthony Nolan Trust had taken the stand. The rule is only one person on the plinth, so to make themselves more eye catching they had around 30 of their supporters wearing 'donor' and 'patient' t shirts in the square below. They had brought along some grey crates which they had upturned for a game of musical statues. Every time the music stopped, the donor and patient pairs hopped onto the mini-plinths. When it started again, they would get off and dance, hike or 'fly' around, while their official plinther held up placards proclaiming how many people had organised balls, been on sponsored walks or jumped out of aeroplanes to raise money for their cause. I thought it was quite a clever way of getting attention - not least because I personally find it difficult to walk past any speaker blaring out 'Amarillo' without going to investigate.

I did think of applying to participate. Not because I particularly want to be on show for an hour, but I thought it would be interesting to get a view that I wouldn't otherwise see, as well as being part of something curious. It's not too late to apply, but I can't think of anything sufficiently visually interesting to do for an hour. I considered dressing as a pigeon, but that's already been done (as too has holding a sign proclaiming that the plinther is not a pigeon). What do you reckon? What would you do?

Monday, 20 July 2009


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