In the wee hours of Monday morning, three artists and a team of helpers illegally installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park. The faux-bronze bust, designed to blend in seamlessly with the adjacent Prison Ship Martyrs Monument to soldiers of the Revolutionary War, was placed atop a previously empty plinth, with Snowden’s last name affixed beneath the bronze eagle at the column’s base.
“If this thing gets taken down right away we’ll certainly be disappointed, but we think it’ll be worth it thanks to the internet,” one of the artists told Animal, which filmed the pre-dawn installation. “The fact that a risk was taken, the fact that an image comes out of that event that can be passed around can never be undone. So you can rip the statue out, but you can’t erase the fact that it happened and that people are sharing it.”
This is not New York City’s first Snowden monument. A life-size sculpture of the former CIA worker and NSA contractor by artist Jim Dessicino was installed in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District as part of last year’s Art in Odd Places public art festival.