Saturday, 11 July 2009

My time on the Plinth : 10th July, 3-4am

I took part in Antony Gormley's One&Other project, dressing up as a giant pigeon for my hour on the plinth. 

Why a pigeon? Well, why not?! Pigeons are an icon of Trafalgar Square (as well as Nelson, of course) and of London, and well...I just wanted to dress up! I do a lot of fancy dress at university, and usually put far too much effort into making a costume that will inevitably get wrecked on a student night out. Yet here I was, sober, standing on a plinth, dressed in a pigeon costume. And it was such an incredible experience. 

My sister and I had devised a schedule of dancing, writing messages, pigeon yoga and more dancing, but when I was up there I found the experience to be more reflective and peaceful than I'd imagined. I wrote messages to friends and family who were watching online and danced to the Austin Powers theme song, and just enjoyed interacting with my audience. I had anticipated a drunken heckling crowd for my 3am slot, but everyone who came to have a look at me were great! 

You can watch my hour on the plinth again by clicking here. When I arrived home and was able to watch it again myself, I was delighted to discover that I'd had comments by people watching from all over the world, including America, Alaska, Hong Kong!

I would thoroughly recommend applying for a slot on the plinth. Whether you think it's art or not, the opportunity to stand on a plinth in Trafalgar Square doesn't come along very often!

The project has sparked conversation and opinion not only through the web and media, but also on Trafalgar Square. People who wouldn't necessarily talk to another strangers, now engage with the plinthers and other watchers. 

It's been really fun, even off the plinth; I've been 'twitted' about, I've been mentioned in the Sunday Telegraph, featured in the Rutland Times, the Rutland Mercury, spoken live on BBC Radio Leicester and should be appearing in the Mail on Sunday. 

My costume...
I made my costume from scratch; my head is a fleece balaclava with painted eyes and fabric feathers. A paper maché beak with a sports sock 'lump' (does it have a proper name?!) on top. I sewed on layers and layers of pigeonesque fabric onto a grey t-shirt and stuffed a couple of pillows under it, to give that authentic fat pigeon chest. The tail was made from felt, which I spray-painted black at the end and stitched to my t-shirt. My wings started off as white angel wings, bought on ebay and spray-painted grey. The feet were made from stripy pink fabric and stuffed with toy stuffing, with black nails painted at the tips. I found some great leggings in primark which I cut off at the knee and sewed on some real feathers. The rest of the leggings I transformed into sleeves, which I stitched onto my tshirt. Finally, I used facepaint to colour my legs pink, using white and red detail to give them a ribbed pigeon leg effect. 

1 comment:

  1. hi - just found your pigeon pics - love it ! Dressing ups good - love it myself too - have a look if you like at

    All the best - Simon