In the early morning of July 22, the two American flags situated atop New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge had been replaced with a white flag, leaving no trace as to who had carried out what some considered an act of anti-Americanism. Now, two Berlin artists have come forward claiming responsibility for the flag swap, stating that the action was done in remembrance of the bridge’s German-born engineer.
Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke told the New York Times that all they wanted to do was celebrate the beauty of the bridge and it’s engineer, John Roebling, who had died on that day in 1869. They in no way intended the action to be seen as an act of terrorism as some had initially thought.
When the flag swap had been discovered on July 22, bomb squads rushed to the scene to make sure the surrounding area was safe. While there was an apparent lack of security cameras, police claimed to have spotted four suspects on a camera.
Moments after the incident spread on the news, various individuals tried to take responsibility for the flag swap, but no proof was ever presented, until Leinkauf and Wermke sent a short video to the Times, showing them replacing the flags and also similar stunts around the world that did not receive the same type of media attention.
The two artists are no longer in the States, but they told the Times that, like their other projects, they always planned to come forward and that they “always face the consequences.” Police department spokesman, Stephen Davis, told the press that if “they want to come in and speak with us, we certainly would be more than happy to entertain them.”
Leinkauf and Wermke are currently seeking legal advice, as the reaction to this stunt has far exceeded any others they received. “This is part of the work, to have an open discussion. We just needed a little time to decide how to respond to the reaction,” Leinkauf told the Times in a phone interview.