Police Remove Snowden Bust In NY Park, Hours Later Activists Replace It With Snowden Hologram

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SHAFAQNA – Artists with the group “The Illuminator” use a laptop to cast an image of Edward Snowden over the spot where sculpture of the NSA leaker once stood on Monday, April 7, 2015.

It was only hours after police removed an illegally-placed bust of Edward Snowden from a perch in a Brooklyn park on Monday, artists subversively replaced the missing statue with a hologram.

The artists group calls themselves “The Illuminator.” They clarify that they are not related to the three sculptures who created the original bust. Instead, they used laptops and projection equipment to great a “hologram” of sorts, casting a replacement image of Snowden into a haze of smoke where the sculpture had temporarily stood.

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

Artists with the group “The Illuminator” use a laptop to cast an image of Edward Snowden over the spot where sculpture of the NSA leaker once stood on Monday, April 7, 2015.

Artists with the group “The Illuminator” cast an image of Edward Snowden over the spot where a sculpture of the NSA leaker once stood on Monday, April 7, 2015.

“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.

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 bust of Edward Snowden is seen atop a column at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park, in Brooklyn, on Monday, April 6, 2015.

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,” Maeri Ferguson, a spokesperson with the Parks Department, said 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.

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