THE SAD SMOKY MOUNTAINS
A CIVIL ACTION AND A WORK OF ART
During the final part of this action of ours the Sad Smoky Mountains will be
meeting the Cities. The Urban Climbers, “city
mountaineers” moment has come! In togetherness with mountains, in
togetherness with the hills we will be kindling the hearts of our cities
and their inhabitants employing the same red color used afore by
returning to the origin of those columns of smoke chosen to be used as a
symbol, an invariable symbol of this work of art. Those columns are in fact a chromatic manipulation of the
smoke erupted from the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, and their
color manifests shame-sadness-outrage felt towards the violation of
human rights. Today in Tibet, Sudan, Burma (Myanmar), Afghanistan, Iraq,
Palestine; yesterday in Africa, Europe and the USA; tomorrow who knows
where in the East or in the West, in the South or in the North of this
The Sad Smoky Mountains will smoke together, in togetherness with City
skyscrapers so as to re-establish a necessary alliance between
man and environment, between man and the other self, between man and
those similar to him. Monuments like volcanoes previously at rest,
awakened by the Earths’ pain. These monuments will return to what they
originally were meant to represent: a monition (from Latin
monumentum), a warning to those who have forgotten what hides behind
ancient architectures. We shall make these monuments talk the language
of smoke, “the evanescent color of blood”, on the day on which
the olympic torch, a double-headed symbol of peace and hypocrisy, will
light the Peking Olympics. At exactly sixty years from the drafting of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the repression of Tibet during
an event of world-wide interest has become the symbol of failure and
betrayal on behalf of international governments: the principles then
ratified have been and are still, more or less diplomatically, denied.
My friends and I in unison with other French activists, will move near,
on sight, on top of, beneath, besides… the Eiffel Tower, in the heart of
the city where UNESCO has it’s general headquarters, in a city that more
than any other one has consigned culture and intelligence to the
fundamental freedoms of man. Other cities throughout the world,
mountains, hills, scenic areas, natural or urban sites are there,
available, in their unchangeable locations, waiting. For You.
Just like climbing mountains and hills, it doesn’t take much: a red
smoke signal, good will and – should, by chance, elevators be missing or
should there be no creative alternative whatsoever to climbing buildings
from outside - a few floors of typical, simple stairs can be used to
reach the uppermost terraces of skyscrapers and homes.
“Will this civil action and work of art make our governments move?” –
someone recently questioned. I don’t know and it is not a problem. The
only strong and real certainty I have, especially after the
extraordinary first round of ignitions , is that our action will be
useful, and how very useful it will be, “to nurture those who resist”,
to make them feel less lonesome, surrounded by a net of humanity. This
is not petty work. If we move, something else will move along with us.
Consequences are not foreseeable but they do always remain consequences.
To give start to the second phase of this work of art I have decided to
“ignite” a bell tower within the next few days. The bell tower, a
monument which itself has voice; the capacity of speaking – the bells –
which often remain silent due to manipulation by power. I will start in
my home town with this
Sad Smoky Bell Tower
action. From the heart of a small village in one of many Italian
provinces a first alarm bell ringing so as
to, once and for all, put into words
what memory withholds.
Take a smoke signal and color the sky red!
I will be with you.
Alberto Peruffo [ Italy ]
Technical notes: as explained in the
previous project, the final ignition
will take place on the official olympics inauguration day, August 8th,
2008, regardless of weather conditions. Actions will take place on
mountains tops, hills, in cities, on and around monuments trying to
contemporarily (at 13:00 hrs. local time) ignite smoke signals where
possible, but not strictly necessary when selected locations are
reachable with more difficulty.
collection and the covering of mountain as well as city ignitions will
be available on the following website:
www.sadsmokymountains.net which will coordinate possible local
representatives (city as well as mountain groups) to be found on the
Multiple adhesions can be applied to the same
objectives or locations, especially when cities are involved.
Subscriptions can be made at the following address
email@example.com (possible repetitions or the inclusion of
mountains not involved during the first ignition due to weather
conditions should be communicated and re-included in the
Information and press office at
the following address: