On Monday (28 May) Channel 4’s Chief Executive David Abraham unveiled the latest installation on the ‘Big 4’ outside the corporation’s Horseferry Road headquarters – the design of which celebrates Channel 4’s involvement and commitment to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The installation, Monument to the Unintended Performer, is by sculptor and artist Tony Heaton. The piece brings together three elements in addition to the Big 4: the first based on the classical Greek sculpture
Discobulus, the discus thrower, evoking the spirit of the Olympics; the second element, a circle, representing the wheel of the international symbol of access; and lastly, the introduction of gold, silver and bronze considers hierarchy.
The latest installation on the Big 4 was unveiled as Channel 4 launched its coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games at an event attended by Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of LOCOG.
Tony Heaton said: “I wanted to use the structure of the Big 4 as one of four elements that would fuse together to form a new cohesive piece – which would provoke thought and celebrate Channel 4’s involvement and commitment to the Paralympics. The subtext of the piece is the assertion that disabled people are almost always the object of scrutiny and curiosity.”
David Abraham said: This new installation by Tony Heaton is a striking addition to the iconic Big 4 and is a bold representation of Channel 4’s commitment to changing attitudes to disability with our coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.”
Tony Heaton has worked as a sculptor since the inception of what became known as disability arts, a movement inextricably linked to the politics of disability. His performance piece ‘Shaken not Stirred’ – created from the stacking into a pyramid of 1,760 red charity collecting tins and then destroyed by the hurling into it of a prosthetic leg with a steel toe capped boot for the ‘Block Telethon’ campaign – was part of a seminal moment where disabled activists protested against the televising of Telethon and demanded rights not charity.
Similarly, the assemblage, ‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’ – a map of Britain constructed solely from the deconstructed parts of two condemned ex-ministry wheelchairs - has become an enduring image of that time.
The 50 foot high Big 4 was built in 2007 to celebrate Channel 4’s 25th anniversary and has previously been customised by acclaimed photographer Nick Knight, Turner Prize Titchner, renowned Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, art graduate and competition winner Stephanie Imbeau, and fashion design graduate and competition
winner, Hannah Gourlay.
The installation was created on the Big 4, on behalf of Tony Heaton, by FreeState Ltd – working alongside subcontractors