Please Feed the Lions by Es Devlin
15 — 23 Sep 2018
Architecture / Landscape, Digital
Please Feed The Lions was an interactive installation in Trafalgar Square by Es Devlin, known for her innovative projection-mapped sculptures that fuse light, music & tech.
The project followed a year-long collaboration between Es Devlin and Google Arts & Culture. Exploring the parameters of design and artificial intelligence, the installation incorporated a deep learning algorithm developed by Ross Goodwin, creative technologist at Google. Following the Festival, the sculpture was digitised as part of an online exhibition on Google Arts & Culture so people all over the world could experience the groundbreaking artwork. The project was supported by digital commissioning body The Space as part of its work to ensure the broadest access to the arts through digital technologies. Cast in 1867, the four monumental lions in Trafalgar Square had been sitting as silent British icons at the base of Nelson’s Column for the past 150 years. Overnight on Monday 17 September, a fifth fluorescent red lion joined the pride, facing northwards towards the National Gallery. The new lion was not silent: it roared poetry, and the words it roared were chosen by the public. Everyone was invited to “feed the lion”, and this lion only ate words. By daylight, the ever-evolving collective poem was shown on LEDs embedded in the mouth of the lion. By night, the poem was projection-mapped over the lion and onto Nelson’s Column itself: a beacon of streaming text that invited others to join in and add their voice. Devlin says the idea for the sculpture was prompted by a walk through Trafalgar Square with LDF Chairman Sir John Sorrell during 2017’s Festival. “He said: ‘Landseer never wanted those lions to look so passive; he proposed a much more animated stance, but Queen Victoria found it too shocking.’ The thought lodged in my mind. What if we could invest the lion with a diversely crowd-sourced collective poetic voice?” What did the Lion say? Explore the project further at [www.g.co/pleasefeedthelions](https://artsandculture.google.com/project/please-feed-the-lions) and explore an online exhibition about the project on Google Arts & Culture. In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture. Supported by [The Space](https://www.thespace.org/). Further Support by Luke Halls Studio, res.lab and LUX Technical.