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Snowden Sculpture in Brooklyn Removed

  • Bust of Edward Snowden
  • Bust of Edward Snowden
  • Bust of Edward Snowden
April 7, 2015

Early on Monday morning of this week, a group of mysterious artists and a small group of helpers, appeared under the cover of darkness to illegally erect a sculpture in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. The one hundred pound sculpture was a bust of the so called NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the anonymous artists placing the bust on top of an empty column which forms part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, built to honour over 11,000 American prisoners of war who died on ships during the American Revolutionary War. However, the bust of Edward Snowden didn’t remain in place for long; NYC Parks Department covered the sculpture before removing the bust of Edward Snowden with the NYPD. You may be interested in the Whistleblower exhibition by Marcus Jansen, which was influenced by government surveillance and Edward Snowden.

Bust of Edward Snowden

The plot to place a bust of Edward Snowden in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, was hatched over a year ago by two anonymous New York artists who have undertaken such projects in the past. The artists worked carefully with an unnamed West Coast sculptor who was sympathetic to their plan for a bust of Edward Snowden. The mysterious artists carefully considered the bust of Edward Snowden, creating the four foot sculpture to fit in with the existing monuments already in place at Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. The one hundred pound sculpture was created from a sculpting material called hydrocal, often used to make props and the ancient looking facades in places like Las Vegas, finishing the bust of Edward Snowden in a bronze colour and taking care over details, such as the hair, that replicates the textures of the feathers that can be seen on the eagle sculpture already in place at the base of the column. The sculpture was also fixed with an adhesive that would make the bust easy to remove without damaging the existing monument. Check out Spy Booth by Banksy, which appeared just after news broke about Edward Snowden.

Bust of Edward Snowden
Bust of Edward Snowden – Photo Aymann Ismail, Animal New York

Why a bust of Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden became known as the NSA whistleblower, the American computer professional revealing classified NSA documents to journalists from a location in Hong Kong. In June 2013, Edward Snowden revealed his identity four days after the media has exposed his NSA leaks. Edward Snowden is still at a secret location in Moscow while seeking asylum in the European Union after being charged with violating the American Espionage Act and theft of government property. The bust of Edward Snowden has been entitled Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0 by the mysterious artists, who feel dismayed that no action has been taken against the NSA following the leaks and the media portraying Edward Snowden as a criminal, while the public has moved on from the story.

Bust of Edward Snowden
Bust of Edward Snowden – Photo Aymann Ismail, Animal New York

Freedom & Tyranny

In erecting the bust of Edward Snowden, the artists were updating the existing monument ‘to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies’ and stating ‘Our goal is to bring a renewed vitality to the space and prompt even more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms. We hope this inspires them to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future’. The artists were prepared for the destruction of the Bust of Edward Snowden and created a mould so it could be remade; they also 3D rendered the bust so they can print small versions. NYPD are currently investigating the illegal erection of the bust of Edward Snowden. You may like to read about the NSA inspired exhibition by Trevor Paglen and Daemons of Street Art which includes information on the Penis Satan sculpture that mysteriously appeared in Vancouver.

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Bust of Edward Snowden
Bust of Edward Snowden – Photo Aymann Ismail, Animal New York
Bust of Edward Snowden
Bust of Edward Snowden – Video still, Aymann Ismail, Animal New York
Bust of Edward Snowden
Bust of Edward Snowden removed – Photo Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Images courtesy of Aymann Ismail & Animal New York, unless stated.

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