Freedom To Pollute


Visual Idea


The idea is to put up a 6 metres high fibre glass copy of the American Statue of Liberty. The sculpture is to be painted light blue to emphasize the kitschy aura characteristic of that kind of plastic models of well-known sculptures. This way the sculpture will be a big scale similar to cheap tourist souvenirs.


Inside the sculpture will be placed an engine that produces theatre smoke. It will produce great clouds of smoke through the torch that the Statue of Liberty holds in her hand. On the plinth will be a big sign saying, Freedom To Pollute.


The sculpture will be 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 a poster will be distributed with the this new Statue of Liberty as the subject together with the motto, Freedom To Pollute and a link to the homepage,


Press Coverage


Posters and press release will be 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.


Continuously press releases will be distributed with environmentalist views on the negotiations in Johannesburg, and with the smoking Statue of Liberty as a logo.


Go-carts with the 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.


The 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 send the mail on so we can 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 will be distributed together with material that the Group 92 and other environmentalists put out in connection with the Johannesburg meeting, where they will use the sculpture as a point of departure.




A homepage called in Danish and English will be created. From the page it will be possible to download the poster and get information on the campaign and find links to all pages concerned with environmental issues, that the Group 92 wants to include. There will be a commentary box for people to express their views on the Johannesburg meeting 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.


The use of the sculpture


We are at this moment working at making a device so that the sculpture can be put up without the use of a crane. Otherwise the putting up will be more difficult and more expensive, about 150 EUR for each time in Copenhagen. If we succeed in creating a mobile unit procedures will be much easier. Simultaneous we are going to try if we can use a small generator to feed the smoke engine. This way we will be independent of power plugs.


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.





I always make it a condition that I keep the ownership to the objects that I have contributed to. This time the smoking Statue of Liberty accessories included. In return I am totally prepared for its use until it finally wears out. I am prepared to provide storing room for the interludes when it is not in use.


Level Up

2002: Freedom to Pollute - a Comment to the World Summit, Johannesburg
Additional Information:
Categories: 2002: Freedom to Pollute - a Comment to the World Summit, Johannesburg | Happenings and Art Installations | Activities related to environment and climate
Themes: Criticism of governments | Ecology - sustainable development
Sculptures: Freedom to Pollute | The Egg (model for Care)
Type: Concepts
Dates: 2002
Locations: Aalborg, Denmark | Aarhus, Denmark | Copenhagen, Denmark | Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen, Denmark | Odense, Denmark | Germany | Luxemburg | Johannesburg, South Africa
Co-operators and Helpers: Aarhus festuge | Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (Danish Association for International Co-operation)
Partners: 92 gruppen, Den samlede miljøbevægelse i DK | Greenpeace | Øko-net
Related Persons and Entities: George Bush Senior | George W. Bush, US President | Søren Pind, Københavns Kommune | US Ambassador in Denmark 2002