Gormley's Plinth Project ready for kick-off as human statues prepare to perform

By Culture24 Staff | 02 July 2009
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A picture of a young woman standing in front of a stone plinth in the sunshine

Rachel Wardell, a mother-of-two from Sleaford, will become the first participant to take to the Fourth Plinth as part of One and Other. Picture © James O'Jenkins

After weeks of anticipation and more than 14,000 applications from across the UK, Antony Gormley's One and Other, a Big Brother-style project where participants take to the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square for an hour each, finally kicks off on Monday (July 6 2009).

The popular British sculptor's brainchild will keep the spot continuously occupied for 100 days in a commission by Boris Johnson. Onlookers who can’t find time to gape at the revolving human statues in person can watch the experiment in high definition glory on Sky Arts, including a live breakfast time build-up with Clive Anderson ahead of the start.

A picture of a middle-aged woman in a dress standing in front of a stone plinth in the sunshine

Jill Gatcum, a 51-year-old consultant from London. Picture © James O'Jenkins

Organisers are highlighting the diversity of the lucky opening day entrants, including Londoners who thought it was "too good an opportunity to miss" and a 22-year-old Sri Lankan student who is promising a performance during his slot.

Alastair McKay, who will become one of the first to take to the plinth later this month, revealed there was "something of the headteacher" about Gormley during the application process.

"He reminded me of Morgan Freeman in [the film] Bruce Almighty, which is to say that he looked like God," McKay told the Evening Standard. "While the plinthers have the impression of freedom, Gormley is the great architect. He is the artist, and this is his show."

A picture of a middle-aged man in a shirt standing in front of a stone plinth in the sunshine

Jason Clark, a 40-year-old nurse from Brighton, is planning to keep his clothes on for his latest public appearance. Picture © James O'Jenkins

McKay plans to use his hour of power to make a stand against gun violence, and he isn't the only one who'll be supporting a cause. The first sitter, a 35-year-old housewife from Sleaford who has "no great involvement in the arts", will be raising awareness of the NSPCC.

Jason Clark, the 41-year-old nurse from Brighton who will follow her, will be mercifully more low-key than his previous stint in the spotlight, when he wore his birthday suit in a "live installation" at Selfridges.

The rapidly-decreasing number of people who haven't applied are still being encouraged to grab their 60 minutes of fame, with a further two phases of random selection scheduled between now and the end of August.

Begins on Sky Arts and Sky Arts 1 HD from 8.15am on July 6 2009. Weekly highlights show on Fridays at 7pm from July 10 2009. Visit One and Other for full coverage and details.

Runs until October 14 2009. Visit the website (above) to take part or send a large SAE with stamps to the value of £1.08 to One & Other, c/o Artichoke, Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6AB.

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