High art adorns commuters' path paths

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The Independent Online
"Sitter required". As job descriptions go, it sounded like a pretty cushy number. A follow-up enquiry revealed that indeed the applicant would be required to sit in an armchair for a living, from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, plus eight hours overtime. Nice work if you can get it - or so Myles Stawman thought.

His employers neglected to mention that the armchair in question would be suspended from a billboard, 20ft above one of London's busiest arteries.

After a two-week trial period, the position could become permanent. Staring skyward, the stranded incumbent might well start praying that his performance does not merit the promotion.

Every morning commuters passing along the Holloway Road section of the A1 can ponder the besuited white figure jutting out of the disused railway bridge, defying gravity and logic.

Only if they catch a glimpse of him arriving or leaving - by ladder - or taking his lunch break, will they realise he is a real man with a real job to do.

A still, white sanctuary in the midst of urban tangle, this "time based performance installation", entitled SIT E 5670.01 - a word play on city, site, sitting and the billboard's reference number - was dreamed up by "unappointed", a trio of north London artists.

Mr Myles, 27, from Yorkshire, was highly practical in his approach.

"Why are you sitting in that chair?" I asked. "Because it's my job," came the reply. "Why did you apply?"

"Because I was out of work."

And why this job in particular? "Because I needed to find some space in the city," he explained.

The artists balked at the suggestion that their work bore a resemblance to Tilda Swinton's recent week-long snooze in a glass cabinet at the Serpentine Gallery.

"Everyone possesses a bit of Tilda because she is a famous actress. In viewing her, you are involved in what it is like for Tilda, a busy actress, to be lying there," explained Tom Geoghegan, 34, who founded unappointed two years ago.

"The idea of anonymity is important to us because the way you experience our work is through transference.

"The relationship between viewer and figure is like that of a patient and psychotherapist."

Some 120 billboard sites were inspected before unappointed settled for this one.