“A work of art is a scream of freedom” — Christo
A compelling quote, particularly in the light of recent events. As the great orange ego uses his new found power to remove people’s freedoms, restrict the press and silence government agencies, looking over the pond feels more and more like watching an Orwellian dystopia come to life. Though perhaps it is the UK that is most in danger from Big Brother; May’s “snooper’s charter” bill has been called “one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy” and requires phone and web companies to store browsing histories for up to 12 months, allowing authorities complete access to this data.
In troubled times, is this not when cries for freedom are most needed? Yet Christo, in an act that he later revealed was in defiance of Trump, has decided to abandon a project he and his late wife have spent a quarter of a century fighting for the rights to carry out. The federal government hold the rights to the land that the project, silvery fabric temporarily suspended above a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River, would be situated in and would thus benefit from the project both directly and indirectly. Trump has not concealed his need for audience and acclaim, as the petulant insistence of inauguration crowds’ size demonstrates, but, as Johnathon Jones of The Guardian asks, will Trump even notice protest in this form? Is it not our duty, as artists, to continue to create these cries for freedom and rebel against the continued impeachment of our rights?