When architect Jeffrey Roberts first came up with the idea for “Flying Pigs on Parade,” the possibility that Donald Trump would clinch the presidency seemed like a “when-pigs fly” situation. Unrealistic.
The phrase has taken a whole new meaning now that his plan to cover up Trump’s name on his eponymous Chicago hotel with flying golden pigs is officially on the go.
Roberts, of architecture design firm New World Design Ltd (NWD), has been given the go ahead to provide “relief to the citizens of Chicago” from the “visual noise” that is Trump’s ostentatious monument to his ego.
And what better idea to block out the 20’ tall “Trump” sign than to tether four giant gold-colored to buoys in the Chicago River—of course.
Trump caused controversy in 2014 when he put his big stamp on the city’s skyline in the form of a giant sign emblazoned with his name in gold letters. Despite widespread opposition from city residents, the sign has remained in place. Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel couldn’t do anything about it—Trump Tower is a private building.
Finally, after months of “very positive” conversations with city officials, Roberts told Chicagoist Wednesday that his swine-shaped middle finger will be ready take off some time this summer—although some of the logistical details are still being hashed out.
“Flying Pigs on Parade: A Chicago River Folly“, which will be deployed as a one-day art installation, is rich in symbolism. The pigs themselves are a reference to Animal Farm—George Orwell’s allegorical novella about tyranny and authoritarianism—but also a cue to Trump’s infamous “Miss Piggy” comments and to the “gaudy style” of his own gold ensconced penthouse interior.
The flying pigs are modeled after the yellow pig floating atop London’s Battersea Power Station on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 Animals album. (The band’s bassist, Roger Waters even reached out to Roberts to give him his blessing to replicate the original design.)
Despite the work’s clear political slant, the designers are keen not to be labelled as “radicals or activists.” Instead, they write on their blog that this “folly” should be seen as a “gesture in support of those of more rational, optimistic and inclusive minds.”
As Roberts told the Chicagoist:
We’re not highly political people, but with so many ridiculous actions taking place, we thought the strongest way to respond was with us using our design skills.
The swine are expected to alight sometime in late August or September, but no firm date has yet been fixed as the project needs funding. Roberts and his colleague Erich Stenzel set up a crowdfunding campaign to help cover fabrication costs for the balloons, barge costs, security and permit fees for the event. At the time of writing, the campaign had raised $25 of its $250.000 goal.
If all goes as planned, Stenzel and Roberts intend to take the pigs on the road—to Vegas.