About a month ago a couple of artists snuck into Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park and covertly installed a 100 pound concrete and bronze bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The bust, modeled after the portrait used on his Wired cover story, was affixed to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument that was erected to honor American prisoners of war who lost their lives during the Revolutionary war.
Sadly, Snowden’s massive, four foot tall monument didn’t rest on its war monument home for very long. It only took a few hours for the Parks Department to cover it with a tarp, and then had it removed where it sat in NYPD custody until being released on May 6th. However only hours after the bust was removed from Fort Greene Park a group of guerrilla artists called The Illuminators replaced it with a digitally projected hologram of Mr Snowden, which lasted for under an hour.
The original bust artists Andrew Tider and Jeff Greenspan we able to recover it after each paying a $50 fine for entering the park after hours, and then decided to share their hard work with the world. The pair has uploaded a 4″, 6″ and 8″ version of the original bust to Thingiverse for anyone to have a copy of their own. And of course they not too subtly suggested that people install their own Snowden busts.
“We thought, ‘Let’s put the data out there, and find a way for it to proliferate to anyone who wants it. We’ve heard from people that they want one for their lawn or to put in their home … so we’re letting the world do whatever it wants to do with this,” said Tider
“It would be great if people put these in public spaces and Instagrammed them, or put photos on Twitter and Facebook to project them around the world. Anywhere it can get people thinking about surveillance, your rights and liberties, it would be wonderful,” Greenspan told Wired.
Luckily the pair, along with the original sculptor Doyle Tankina, created a high resolution digital copy of the bust before the final casting was completed. Tankina sculpted the original bust from clay, using the now iconic Wired cover photo from their Snowden cover story. Once it was completed, Greenspan and Tider used a handheld 3D scanner to capture a high resolution copy which was converted into a mold that was then cast in fiberglass and concrete and finished off with a bronze coating.
Now that the artists have retrieved their bust of Snowden, it will be installed temporarily in a Brooklyn art gallery called Boiler. And beyond that exhibition, Greenspan and Tider will use New York’s ‘Arts in the Park’ initiative to get the statue permanently, and legally, installed in a city park. While the artists say that they are aware that Snowden probably would not want to be deified with this type of monument in his honor, they insist that they didn’t do it for him. Rather, the project was intended to call attention to the NSA leaks that Snowden is famous for and to counter what they call mainstream media claims that he is a traitor.
“We accept sometimes without thinking that if there’s a bronze statue of some person, they must be good. We wanted to raise this question, whether the people you’ve been told are heroes are heroes or whether your enemies are really enemies … How your ideas are being massaged and manipulated,” explained Greenspan.
Anyone looking to 3D print their own Snowden bust should be aware that the sculpture is not currently optimized for FDM 3D printing but rather for SLS or bed 3D printers. I’m assuming that the glasses and hair would be hard to print, even with supports, so you may need to tweak the model a bit in order for it to print correctly. However the pair have promised that a more FDM friendly version will be uploaded soon. Tell us what you think about this guerilla art installation in the 3D Printable Edward Snowden Bust forum at 3DPB.com.