Tales From a Park Bench is a temporary installation by local residents Russell Loughlan, Charlotte Haigh and Stephen Emms that will run for just one week in August (3-9) in C22, a pop-up gallery on Chalk Farm Road. OPENING HOURS ARE 11-7pm (except Tues & Friday, till 9pm).

What would happen if the idea behind Anthony Gormley’s 4th Plinth – to give the supposedly ordinary a chance to be represented – was transposed to a park bench in a disused shop in Camden Town?

“Our starting point was actually Bench Marks (www.benchpoetry.blogspot.com) , my weekly column in Time Out that covers the quiet, often touching lives behind park bench inscriptions,” says Stephen Emms, “but when we read about the Gormley show, something seemed to connect the two and Tales From A Park Bench was born. Ultimately it’s about the democratization of human stories; the idea that no-one is boring.”

Every evening locals, strangers, tourists, musicians, artists, businessmen, housewives, writers and everyone else can come along and perform on the bench: tell a story, tell a joke, tell it like it is, or do whatever takes their fancy. Take to the bench and rant for a minute, or an hour: there’s no time limit. And there’s always the chance that no-one will use the bench at all.

“People will be encouraged to engage in story in some way,” says Emms. “A metallic dustbin by the bench will brim over with hundreds of crumpled photocopies of the Bench Marks column, so people can either sit and read about other, completely unrelated lives, or tell anyone listening about their own. Whilst the world media spotlight is on the 4th Plinth, our little project is going on simultaneously in Camden Town, a celebration of regular lives and real life. Then again, it may just be a bunch of drunks in a room slugging back beer.”

It runs from Aug 3 – 9 at C22, 22 Chalk Farm Road London Nw1. Email talesfromaparkbench@googlemail.com


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