Sunday, June 14, 2009

An interim post between global academic disciplines and local artistic interventions

Readers in the United Kingdom will know, but other Counterforces readers may not, that Anthony Gormley has created a populist form of performance art as his contribution to filling the famous vacant fourth sculpture plinth in Trafalgar Square: the first 615 of 2400 hourly presenters have just been named, chosen by computer algorithm from all over the United Kingdom to do whatever it pleases them to do with their hour of international attention (courtesy of Sky News real-time coverage at

Since the good publicists of presumably have connections, the following extract from their release will be published verbatim in more print and online outlets than I care to imagine, but some of you read it here first: the first-chosen participants “include David Rosenberg, 41, a designer from London who plans to use his hour at nightfall to pedal his folding pink bicycle to generate the energy to light up a specially created suit he will be wearing.” And the others likewise range from brilliant and earnest to merely brilliant:

“Oliver Parsons-Baker, 26, an aquatic scientist from Birmingham, plans to highlight the importance of clean water for people’s health by dressing up in a poo costume for half his time on the plinth. Then he’ll change into a fish costume to illustrate the dangers of overfishing.

“For Kay Lockley, 48, from Oldbury, her place on the plinth is an opportunity to raise awareness of Lupus, an incurable disease of the immune system from which she suffers. 'By putting myself forward to go on the plinth I am both excited and terrified. Excited to be part of such a brilliant project and terrified to put myself in the spotlight.'

“Mari Beard, a 24-year-old barmaid from Cardiff, hasn’t decided what she’s going to do, but whatever it is, it will be fun.

“Heather Pringle, a student from Hexham, will be celebrating her 20th birthday on the plinth. ‘I plan to celebrate in style, a good old fashioned birthday party. There will be cake.’”

We now return the Atlanta segment of the Counterforces readership to incipient reviews of local shows, which I intend to post in the next day or two.

I shall not attempt to offer a review of Atlanta painter James Dean’s tenth-birthday party for his much-celebrated fine-art cartoon character Pete the Cat, at the Seen Gallery in downtown Decatur (or deCATur as Dean’s coffee mugs spell it). There was cake. And it was fun.

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