The Fifth Lion At London’s Trafalgar Square Roars Poetry!


A huge fluorescent coloured lion structure has been installed in London’s Trafalgar Square beside the four heritage lion structures and it roars poetry when fed.

Written By Diyali Banerjee | Mumbai | Updated On:

The 150-year-old lions in London’s Trafalgar Square just got a new companion. A huge fluorescent coloured lion structure has been installed in the area beside the four heritage lion structures. However, it's not just the colour that differentiates this lion from the four historic lion statues. The structure named 'Please Feed the Lions' roars poetry when fed.

(Source: Ed Reeve, London Design Festival)

On Monday, September 17, the fifth fluorescent red lion was installed at the Trafalgar Square, facing the National Gallery. It is an interactive installation launched as part of the London Design Festival. The lion eats only works and the words it roars are chosen by the public. People can type in a word on a screen next to the lion, which then creates a poem based on that word, generated by an algorithm. During daytime, the ever-evolving collective poem will be shown on LEDs embedded in the mouth of the lion and at night the poems will be projected on Nelson’s Column for the visitors to read. Moreover, words, with the exception of names of people or swear words, can also be submitted online.

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(Source: Ed Reeve, London Design Festival)

The lion sculpture which is a fusion of fuse light, music and technology, was created by the famous designer Es Devlin and Google Arts & Culture. The project follows a year-long collaboration between both the parties and explores parameters of design and artificial intelligence. The London Design Festival states that the installation incorporates a deep learning algorithm developed by Google creative technologist Ross Goodwin. 

(Source: Ed Reeve, London Design Festival)

Talking about 'Please Feed the Lions', Devlin said that the idea for the sculpture was prompted by a walk through Trafalgar Square. She said that the Chairman of the London Design Festival, Sir John Sorrell came up with the idea during 2017's Festival. An official release put up by the London Design Festival quotes the designer saying, "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?"

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(Source: Ed Reeve, London Design Festival)

The London Design Festival is organised from September 15 to September 27, 2018 following which the makers reportedly revealed that the sculpture will go up for an online exhibition on Google Arts & Culture so that people all over the world can experience the amusing artwork. As per reports, they further revealed that the project is supported by digital commissioning body 'The Space' as part of its work to ensure the broadest access to the arts through digital technologies.

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