Activism

Why Artists Transformed A Suite In Trump International Hotel Into ‘The People’s Prison’

Trump and Putin

An American art collective that functions much like the famed activist protest punk rock group Pussy Riot in Russia, a protest group called IИDECLIИE, decided to take their brand of anti-Trump art right into the proverbial rat’s nest. The group completely transformed a suite in Trump International Hotel in New York into “The People’s Prison.”

The installation featured a remarkably skilled Trump impersonator and six live Brooklyn rats.

The suite, set up on March 29, 2018, was a fully-realized weathered and corroded-looking prison cell from floor to ceiling. It featured the impersonator in gold handcuffs surrounded by jail cell bars and a gaudy chandelier; McDonald’s fast food wrappers; President Donald Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal in paperback; 13 American flags with images of revolutionaries; activists and radicals, and a shirtless picture of Vladimir Putin with the words:

“Don’t worry baby, I got you in and I can get you out.”

Oh, and how can you forget that they captured live rats in Brooklyn, using fast food as bait in humane traps. They allowed the rats to wander about with their “king,” and later safely released them. The artists said of the rats that:

“The rats weren’t a critical element, but being that President Trump has proven himself time and time again to be the world’s biggest rat, we felt it necessary to imprison him with his own breed.”

The project wasn’t authorized, and the anonymous group of artists had to build everything, get it into the room without tipping off the hotel staff, hold a private unveiling, and then escape hours later, returning the room to exactly the state they found it just four hours later. A sign over Trump’s head read:

“Rats will eat anything. Even their rat king.”

Part of the shock value of the piece is that the artists were able to bring the entire highly complex assembly into the hotel without encountering much resistance.

In fact, the hotel staff unknowingly helped them carry out their plan. The artists told Salon

“The hotel staff quickly loaded all of the suitcases onto their luggage carts and transported them directly to the room without asking any questions. The only comment that was made was inside of the suite when a bellman referring to the weight of the suitcase, jokingly asked a member of IИDECLIИE if he had his ‘dead girlfriend’ stuffed inside of it.”

The resulting video captures an eerie, horror film-like mood that captures a feeling of an America in serious decay. The artists feel it’s their responsibility to create provocative work like this to challenge the administration and ultimately, bring about change.

“The figures represented on the flags are that same ones who have risked everything to make our flag stand for something greater. We also feel that it will be a creatively fortified populace, dedicated to standing up for America and its values, that will be the leading cause of Trump’s downfall, not an FBI investigation.”

IИDECLIИE says they are motivated to continue their political activism through art to help motivate and inspire others to join the resistance against Trump’s regressive policies.

“President Trump is the embodiment of every single unethical and arrogant American value there is. He is our generations Richard Nixon and he’s waged a war with millions of creative and fearless soldiers who regularly engage in tactics of provocative protest, poetic dissidence and rebelliousness. His very existence serves as a call to action to resist and creatively fight his policies and administration no matter what the cost. There is no alternative. Bridging the gap between art and political activism is one of the strongest methods of communication there is. These projects, although provocative and sometimes illegal, aim to inspire, educate and encourage others to join the fight against Trump, his policies and fanatical followers.”

See their video below:


Featured image: Screenshot via Vimeo.

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