Edward Snowden Hologram Favorite 



Apr 7 2015


Fort Greene Park

NEW YORK — Hours after police removed an illicit bust of Edward Snowden from its perch in a Brooklyn park on Monday, artists replaced it with a hologram.

The group of artists — who collectively call themselves "The Illuminator" and are not related to the trio behind the original sculpture — used laptops and projection equipment to cast an image of Snowden in a haze of smoke at the spot where the sculpture once stood.

They say the action was a message of defiance aimed at the authorities who "censored" the piece, according to a tumblr post.

"Inspired by the actions of these anonymous artists, The Illuminator Art Collective recreated the intervention ephemerally by projecting an image of the sculpture into a cloud of smoke," they state.

"Our feeling is that while the State may remove any material artifacts that speak in defiance against incumbent authoritarianism, the acts of resistance remain in the public consciousness. And it is in sharing that act of defiance that hope resides."

Reached on Tuesday, the original artists had this to say of the hologram tribute:

We were surprised to see the way the statue was covered up before its removal, as though it were a profane statement. We were equally heartened to see the outpouring of support New York, and people online, have shared. Seeing flowers on the now empty monument was incredibly inspiring, but when another group of artists "reinstalled" the bust and nameplate in light, we were truly touched. It proves the meaning of the piece, and the tough questions it forces us to answer, will endure even though it's no longer physically present. We're thrilled this has inspired others to take creative action towards raising awareness about what it means to be an American, and a hero.

The original sculpture
Three anonymous artists installed the tribute to NSA-leaker Edward Snowden atop a column at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, a site built to honor more than 11,000 American prisoners of war who died aboard British ships during the American Revolutionary War.

The location was no coincidence.

Speaking to Mashable on the condition of anonymity, the artists said they chose the spot because it was "loaded with significance and meaning and reverence of others." It positioned Snowden, they said, "as a continuation of a story that began at the beginning of this country" — one represented in the plight of the captured Americans.

New York's police and Parks Department, however, decided that spot wouldn't fly — and so they covered it up with a blue tarp before removing the sculpture for good.

"Parks and NYPD have removed the sculpture," said Maeri Ferguson, a spokesperson with the Parks Department, in a statement to Mashable.. "The erection of any unapproved structure or artwork in a city park is illegal."

Asked where it was taken, Ferguson referred all further questions to the NYPD.

-Brian Ries

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