Inspired by the Edward Snowden bust that guerrilla artists erected atop a Brooklyn war monument on Monday morning, a different group of artists returned to the site hours after officials dismantled the illegal statue. They deployed the Illuminator to project an eerie blue image over the column where the 100-pound bust had stood earlier.
In a statement, the Illuminator’s Kyle Depew wrote via email:
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. 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.
The Illuminator was borne out of Occupy Wall Street to shed a literal light on the issues that plague the 99%. The audio and video projection system sits in a van, along with a selection of informative reading materials. They recently collaborated with MoveOn.org in Washington D.C. to shed light on the U.S.’s nuclear discussions with Iran.
A group of activists and anonymous artists first set up the Snowden bust at Fort Greene Park’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument on Monday to call attention to the NSA’s surveillance practices and to question what it means to be a hero in the 21st century. “We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies,” they wrote in a statement provided to ANIMAL. “It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze.”
Parks Department employees covered the bust with a tarp Monday morning, and by midday, it had been removed and taken to the 88th precinct. The NYPD is investigating the incident.
(Photo: The Illuminator)