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Plan To Block Trump Tower Sign With Flying Pigs Gets Grounded, At Least For Now

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 27, 2017 5:22PM

For obvious reason, Trump Tower is Chicago's go-to destination for protests against the president. But the most logistically and conceptually ambitious anti-Trump conceit ever, um, floated in Chicago—four, giant, Trump Tower-blocking flying pig balloons—won't be taking off anytime soon. Although some glimmer of hope remains for next year.

The long-in-the-works protest, spearheaded by Jeffrey Roberts, of architecture design firm New World Design Ltd., involved parking a construction barge in the river, from which to strategically fly four 30' x 15' bovine Trump blockers for a one-time protest. The goal was "to not jam up the city for a long time," Roberts told Chicagoist in May.

But the city nixed Roberts' request for a docking permit, citing that very likelihood of hindering water traffic, according to a press release. "The issue of setting precedent" was also a concern, according to NWP. The cost of security, sanitation and other fees also exceed what was expected "as it would be tagged as a 'festival' style event."

"We’ve hit a timeline point where it’s too late to fabricate, ship and float the balloons within a reasonably predictable weather window," Roberts said in the release.

It wasn't clear if Roberts and NWP had cleared other considerable financial hurdles. They were trying to raise $250,000 over the past several month to make the pigs a reality, but the release only mentioned the obstacles with the city. We've reached out for clarification and will update as necessary.

Nonetheless, they're still trying to make it work for 2018, or possibly take the pig protest to another city. "Given the continuing irrational nature of the political environment, our team remains committed to the message and deployment of the art installation," said Roberts.

Apparently he has at least one ally among Chicago's political class. Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) tweeted on Thursday morning that he supported the firm on their quest and still wants to see it happen next year. Although even if they choose a day with the least amount of traffic ever, we suppose there's still the "precedent" concern Roberts says was highlighted.

The flying-pigs concept, as the kids say, contains multitudes, echoing George Orwell's allegory Animal Farm, Pink Floyd's dystopian Animals, Trump's "Miss Piggy" line and the president's own gold-forward aesthetic proclivities.

If it indeed never gets off the ground, donations made via the project's (still-open) website will be transferred to charity. But for plenty of anti-Trumpists hope flies on.