A Bloomberg employee got a spot among the 2400 plinthers in Antony Gormley’s One&Other art project. He writes about the experience on Bloomberg.com.
The curious thing about Plinthers is the number of them who want to raise awareness about some sort of cause. Also, everyone seems to spend some of their Plinth time chatting on their cell phones, presumably sharing the experience in some way. Kaj Alftan is no exception.
Could this selflessness be part of the Plinth’s curious appeal? In a square filled with statuary commemorating the heroic and their deeds, does no one seek their own glory?
I had read a story about the project on Bloomberg Muse, went on line and signed up (in a personal capacity). A half hour later, they called and said that I had a place. There was a cancellation by someone from Northern Ireland who didn’t want to be there at 2 a.m. I thought about it for a minute, and said yes. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I intended to dress up as a seal and deliver an environmental message. I’m from Finland, and there’s a certain type of seal that lives there. I wanted to raise awareness that a lot of pups die in fishing nets, and that the government is reluctant to ban that practice.
Unfortunately, the only seal costume I found in London wasn’t available — they said it was damaged. Instead, I wore a seal mask that I had ordered online. It was quite small and made for children, so I didn’t wear it for a long time. […]
It was an amazing experience being in such a central location. It’s high up, and you have a lot of space around you. It feels as if you’re all alone in Trafalgar Square, which is usually full of people. I sat and dangled my legs over the edge. […]
At that hour, you have people leaving clubs and bars who want to converse with you, I discovered. A lot of them were intoxicated. That actually proved to be a lot of fun. They were saying that I wasn’t entertaining them, and that I was rubbish. It wasn’t my purpose to entertain them, but with the attention that the event has gathered, the assumption is that people will do silly things. […]
My parents and sister called from Tampere, in Finland. They had just woken up. It was 5 o’clock in the morning there. They saw me online, and wanted to say hello. It was quite a surreal experience, because they could see what I was doing.
You’re very exposed, and scrutinized, because everyone has expectations of what you’re doing. It gives people a bigger voice, for a while. With the conveyor belt of people, your message is lost, regardless of what you say. It’s a representation of how media attention amplifies you — for the time that you’re on the pedestal.