Human Art Experiment Ends After 100 Days

Fourth Plinth, One & Other, artist Antony Gormley
LONDON -- The Fourth Plinth art project/human experiment ended just after 9am on Wednesday with its final participant, Emma Burns. The 30-year old photographer released 96 red balloons in memory of the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster and stepped down as the last in a long line of human installations.

For 100 days and nights, 2,400 volunteers took turns for one hour each (doing pretty much anything they chose) atop The Fourth Plinth in London's famous Trafalgar Square.

The plinth was originally built in 1841 for a statue of King William IV on a horse, but the project was never completed. The platform has since become a tourist attraction, a site for political demonstrations, and most recently, a display stand for human contemporary art.

Artist Antony Gormley is the creative force behind the so-called One & Other project. "We've had 2,400 unbroken hours of occupation by living, human people in a place of bronze public sculpture and that's an achievement," said Gormley.

But was this 100-day public display really an artistic "achievement", or a result of the usual human quest for "fifteen minutes an hour of fame"? After all, the plinthers weren't exactly doing "artful" activities - at least not in a traditional sense. Performances on the plinth included singing, pole dancing, stripping, protesting, dressing as feces, begging for a job, releasing live chickens, hollering bedtime stories through a megaphone...and the list goes on.

Either way, Gormley believes his project succeeded. "But at the same time I'm very sad that it's over. It's become, in a way, part of London life," said the artist. 



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