About the Project
“You are cordially invited to step up and speak up,” read the plaque adorning the Freedom of Expression National Monument, a collaborative public artwork by architect Laurie Hawkinson, performer John Malpede, and visual artist Erika Rothenberg. A modern day soapbox, the project consisted of an enormous red megaphone, which was placed in the middle of Foley Square during the fall of 2004, twenty years after its original installation for Creative Time’s 1984 Art on the Beach.
Fundamentally participatory, the interactive installation enticed passersby to climb its sloping ramp and voice their thoughts, poetry, grievances, and hopes. Freedom directly addressed public frustration over not being heard by offering a public forum for dialogue on the dynamics of free speech, the dualism of power and powerlessness, and a multiplicity of social and cultural concerns.
Photograph by Charlie Samuels