Saturday, August 22, 2009

4th Plinth Wrap up

I've had a lot of inquiries asking how it went up on the plinth so I thought I'd run you through the morning.

Needing to arrive an hour and a half early, I was up at 3:15am and on the N87 night bus to Trafalgar Square a few minutes before 4am. Arriving right on time, I went to the temporary building setup for the event where I had to go through a quick security check. Inside I met the event crew and the participant on before me. She was an older lady who was playing an accordion up on the plinth.

So first things first - paperwork. I had to sign my life away giving the artist and Sky Arts the rights to use my content for TV shows, books, and whatever else they come up with. Then I had to do an audio interview about my life and how I came to be where I am today. Questions such as "Why did you decide to participate", "Tell me a little about yourself and your cause", "You are from Kentucky, can you tell me about Kentucky and what its like there", "talk a little about your parents", "and about your brother", "I noticed you brought your wife with you, can you tell me about her". All being good, challenging questions at almost 5am. Afterward there was a quick photo session to capture me in still life on that day.

Why the interview and photo session, you ask? Well its more than just an art project. Its meant to be a grass roots view at individual people and who they are at this particular time in history. The interview is going to be archived in the Wellcome Trust for anyone to listen to in the future. The website explains the project like this: "One & Other is an extension of the exploration of the connection between individuals. The volunteers on the plinth become both representations of themselves and of the human population of the world, viewed by fellow members of the wider society which they inhabit."

Left with a few minutes of down time, I sat back on the couch, sipped a coffee and watched the lady with the music box. Then about 15 minutes before 6am they fitted my microphone and we made our way to the big cherry picker that would lift me up on the plinth.

The time on the plinth went much faster than I thought it would. The first time I looked to see what time it was it had already been 30 minutes and before I knew it, the cherry picker was already on its way to pick me up.

Now down from the plinth, I had one last task which was to sign the plinther guest book. Then it was a few handshakes and off to Canary Wharf to work.

So, what did I think? Well, the preparation was harder than I thought it would have been. What do you do for an hour to represent yourself in front of the world (or London, at least)? What would you do?

Watching other contestants added what I thought at the time was pressure to perform and entertain. In the end, I didn't need to entertain but just be true to myself and have a little fun. So with my flag, sign and self, I represented who I am, my family and friends and hopefully Kentucky well. It was a great experience that I will remember for quite a while.

Here is the video if you missed it and a few photos too.

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