After an unauthorized sculpture bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was installed under cover of darkness in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park on Monday morning, it didn’t take long for authorities to remove it. But last night emboldened members of the Illuminator Art Collective, known for their projector-aided activism, shone a ghostly version of the short-lived monument onto the pedestal where it briefly stood.
“We were inspired by the artists from the night before, and felt that though the police might remove the statue, the spirit of Edward Snowden and the conversation he created still exist,” artist Grayson Earle, a member of the Illuminator crew, told Hyperallergic. “The site wasn’t being monitored at all, much to our surprise. And there was only one person who saw us there. He was wearing an ARMY shirt and asked if it was Edward Snowden, then said ‘he’s a hero’ and walked away.”
The light projection intervention, aided by a strategically deployed cloud of smoke, briefly gave the impression that the Snowden bust had been reinstated. The ephemeral action was directly inspired by the anonymous artists behind the renegade sculpture, who told Animal: “We hope this inspires [visitors] to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future.” And inspire it did.
“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,” the Illuminator Art Collective wrote on its blog. “And it is in sharing that act of defiance that hope resides.”