The Artists notes - by Jens Galschot -
The idea is to put up a 6 metres high fibre
glass copy of the American Statue of Liberty. The sculpture is painted
light blue to emphasize the kitschy aura characteristic of that
kind of plastic models of well-known sculptures. This way the sculpture
is a big scale similar to cheap tourist souvenirs.
Inside the sculpture we have placed an engine that produces theatre
smoke. It produces great clouds of smoke through the torch that
the Statue of Liberty holds in her hand. On the plinth a big sign
states: Freedom to Pollute.
The smoking Statue of Liberty will be unveiled in central Copenhagen
at 10am on August 26th, simultaneously with the opening of the Johannesburg
Summit. She is going to be the icon of the continued campaign for
sustainable development and has already been booked for several
arrangements following the World Summit.
My attitude is that the sculpture is to be used
in all connections where it will be functional, so I expect it to
go on the big tour through the country where it will be used as
a logo for special occasions.
The sculpture is set up in central places
where it day and night will spread its odd message while the smoke
is pouring out. Sometimes environmentalists will gather round the
sculpture and use it as a starting point for a variety of campaigns
for the Earth and the environment and the current environment negotiations
Simultaneously with the unveiling of the sculpture a poster of it
is distributed widely throughout Denmark, USA, Europe and South
Africa (Johannesburg). The poster connects the World Summit in Johannesburg
with the tittle Freedom to Pollute and advertises the informative
Posters and press release are distributed
to most news media in Denmark, USA and South Africa. Moreover a
couple of news media in Europe will be picked for distribution of
press release and poster as well. The release will inform that the
sculpture is put up in Copenhagen to draw attention to the lacking
will of the West to curb pollution and promote sustainable development.
Continuously press releases will be distributed with environmentalist
views on the negotiations in Johannesburg, and with the smoking
Statue of Liberty as a logo.
Postcards with the Campaign Statue of Liberty will be distributed
to cinemas, restaurants and similar places.
We will encourage the press to use the graphic image of the sculpture
as a logo for articles on environment and the conference in Johannesburg.
A press release with a link to the homepage will be distributed
through different e-mail-lists among others Galschiot´s list
with 35,000 mails. The receiver is requested to forward the mail
and we hope to start at wave with this message. Simultaneously there
will be an animated and smoking Statue of Liberty to download as
wallpaper for the pc.
The poster and or postcard will be distributed together with material
that the Group 92 and other environment and development NGOs put
out in connection with the Johannesburg Summit. They will use the
sculpture as a point of departure.
A homepage called FreedomToPollute.com in
English and Danish has been be created. From the page it is possible
to download the poster and get information on the campaign and find
links to relevant pages concerned with sustainable development issues.
There will be a commentary box for people to express their views
on the Johannesburg Summit and the Freedom to Pollute.
There will be an activity calendar with information on where the
smoking Statue of Liberty is right now and encouragement to take
part in the activities initiated by the Group 92.
All art manifestations connote a lot of symbols
and can be interpreted freely and in many ways. But here are some
ideas that I have had during the creation of this concept.
The Statue of Liberty symbolises the USA. To employ this particular
figure as an object of pollution attention is called on the not
very glorious role that the US has taken during these international
climate negotiations. Here like in other connections the super power
refuses to commit itself to binding agreements that are necessary
for the establishment of an international legal system. As George
Bush Sr put it, The American way of life is not negotiable.
The Statue of Liberty represents the American dream of total freedom
for all citizens. To connect this positive symbol of freedom to
the negative idea of pollution creates a short circuit that visualizes
a precarious situation. Freedom for one is a limit to the freedom
of others and is a threat to the lives of others.
The sculpture is extremely powerful and arrogant when it just billows
out smoke and expresses the claim of a right to pollute. It symbolizes
the right of the stronger to impose on others its own conditions
without any regard for the interests of these others.
The Statue of Liberty is painted blue and appears as a pompous tourist
souvenir - a fine piece of rubbish symbolizing also that vast parts
of our industrial capacity are employed to produce totally trivial
The blue sculpture with the smoke billowing and the text symbolises
the tragic comedy in this situation. The Western World is gambling
with Nature. This gambling is a comedy that will end up as a tragedy.