The Artists notes - by Jens Galschot -

danish version

Visual Idea

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 in Johannesburg.

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 homepage,

Press Coverage

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 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 junk.

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.