UCL lecturer to stream media from Fourth Plinth

1 September 2009

plinth

A lecturer from UCL is taking a star turn on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth on Wednesday 2 September.

Dr Melissa Terras, a senior lecturer in Electronic Communication, is spending an hour on top of the landmark between 1pm and 2pm.

Dr Terras specialises in Digital Humanities – the use of computing in the arts, humanities, culture and heritage sectors.

She will talk about streaming media and what it means for art as part of sculptor Antony Gormley’s One & Other project.

Gormley, a graduate of UCL Slade School of Fine Art, has invited hundreds of people to occupy the empty plinth – a space usually reserved for kings and generals.

Different people are spending an hour each on top of the plinth for 24 hours a day for 100 days to create what Gormley describes as a ‘living monument’.

Dr Terras plans to take pictures of the people who come to watch her and post them on photo-sharing site Flickr (tagged ‘one and other’ and part of the One & Other set) as well as ‘tweeting’ live from the plinth using microblogging platform Twitter (@melissaterras, #oneandother).

She said: “Firstly, I wanted to get involved out of personal interest – it always amuses me that whenever you go to a big city you can see the sights from a different viewpoint, up high.

“The human brain just doesn’t have the capacity to ‘render’ these different viewpoints, so the chance to experience Trafalgar Square from a place which is essentially off limits is fantastic.

“But moreover, from a professional perspective, the whole artwork is very interesting: not only is it about the presence of the installation in the square, but the digital documenting of the artwork through video streaming, pictures, and tweets. 

“Viewers and plinthers can engage in ways that even a few years ago would be thought impossible. It raises questions of digital memory, digital archiving, and search strategies: the artist is building a digital corpus of ‘performance’ in a public space, which will exist long beyond the artwork itself. 

“How will it be created? How will this be used? How will it be stored? How will it be sustained? How does the user-generated content fit into the artist’s viewpoint of their own corpus? This all fits very neatly into the concerns we have in Information Studies, regarding the use and deployment of digital media, and the changing information environment.”

To find out more about Dr Terras or One & Other follow the links above.

Image: the Fourth Plinth

 

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