Monday, 23 June 2008

Some day my plinth will come

Boris, our new Mayor of London, has inherited the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square… This classic exercise in fake democracy ('vote for the project you want to see on the plinth') had a short list of the usual suspects presented to the public by the usual suspects, who then picked the final two (each gets a year of the plinth). 
The 'winners' are Anthony Gormley and Yinka Shonibare
Gormley proposes getting members of the public to stand on the plinth in a rota so that it is occupied 24 hours a day for a year. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? 
But listen to Gormley: 
'Through elevation onto the plinth and removal from common ground the subjective living body becomes both representation and representative, encouraging consideration of diversity, vulnerability and the individual in contemporary society.'
Or, of course, not… 
And the same goes for Shonibare's offering of a ship in a bottle. It comes with the customary assertion of profundity without which the object would, as usual, be completely meaningless:
'For me it's a celebration of London's immense ethnic wealth, giving expression to and honouring the many cultures and ethnicities that are still breathing precious wind into the sails of the UK.'
The wind is hot air, we presume. The sails get in to this guff because the model will have sails made out of pretty (vaguely ethnic) fabric bought in Brixton market. (He's used this stuff before. It's a trademark gimmick.)
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.