People’s Park

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Earlier this week the Brits announced the choices for the next two projects to fill what they call The Fourth Plinth. That’s the pedestal in Trafalgar Square that’s given over to a different work of public sculpture every year or so. The next work to go there will be what you might call a bit of performance art, with the public as the performers. For “One and Other”, a proposal by the sculptor Antony Gormley, members of the public chosen by lottery (and then vetted for sanity and so forth) will be hoisted onto the plinth by a crane and simply allowed to be there, doing whatever it is they want to do, for one hour. (To keep them from simply falling off, the plinth will be surrounded by a net.) This will go on for 100 days, starting next spring.

Gormley says it will amount to a national “portrait of this time”. I’m picturing all the times I’ve seen the good people of London on a Saturday night after a few too many pints. This may not be a pretty picture.

Gormley’s giant soapbox project will be succeeded by Yinka Shonibare’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle”, a replica of Admiral Nelson’s ship HMS Victory in a giant glass bottle with sails made from cloth — Shonibare usually works with African or Caribbean textiles — bought at the local Brixton market. No word yet on whether ordinary Brits will be invited to live in the bottle.