Wednesday, 6 January 2010

One & Other - the summer of 2009

The Summer of 2009 was the most unique of summers for me. I may have had only one hour on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square as 1/2400th of Antony Gormley's 'One & Other' project... but the influence of this experience that was begun on 8th June 2009 (when I first read that I had a place), carried through the Summer, until the final hour of the One & Other art installation and beyond.

I lived this Summer of 2009 on a different level and although for the most part, my days occurred as normal - they were ‘felt’ differently. I spent a lot of time, wondering about the Plinth – an awful, ridiculous, all-consuming amount of time, wondering about the Plinth.

Before 11am Sunday 12th July, I would wonder at how it would be on the Plinth and how I would spend my hour. Then after my hour, I would wonder at who was on the Plinth at any given moment and I would be a little envious that some 'other' was having a ‘Plinth experience’.

The Summer of 2009 morphed from its heady intensity on 8th June to complete fear by 9th June. What on earth was I thinking? I had no desire for cameras, no desire for my moment in a spotlight, no desire for doing anything quite as incredibly public as this Plinth thing. I had entered my name for a place, to show support for what I thought was a lovely idea worth supporting – I sign up to too many newsletters for the same reason.

At the time of notification, there was no ‘One’ on the Plinth (the project did not start until 6th July), so there was all that time of overwhelming newness – total unknown-ness about this. On reflection – this was probably the most exquisite of times. When we grow up, there are a whole lot less ‘firsts’. This was a true first, a something I had never done and more than that, a something I had never even considered or imagined as a something I would ever do… ever.

At this time, I felt like I needed to find some of the ‘others’, so went searching. Google, Facebook, Twitter had some chatter about the One & Other event and I started finding the search results for “What will I do with my hour?” – growing. Slowly but surely, those that had received notice that they had an hour on the Plinth and were on the internet – found each other.

The official Facebook Group by Artichoke (and the lovely, approachable, helpful Holly Race) for One & Other, was a big group, even in the pre-project days and what I really wanted, was to narrow down my search; to just those who were going to have an hour on the Plinth.

So for every post I found on the internet that said the poster had received notice that they were going on the Plinth – I sent a message inviting them to a new Facebook group called ‘I, Plinthian’; a locked group that would be for Plinthians only.

This was one of my better ideas. ‘I, Plinthian’ was a dimension to this experience that I could never have factored. The support, the warmth, the honesty, the sincerity and the incredible unity of our band of ‘others’ …stirred such emotion within me. Not wishing to over-dramatise (could I ever be accused of that?), but this group assured me, that my belief in the natural wonderfulness of people – was a well founded one.

My faith in ‘others’ was established as fact.