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Artists Claim Responsibility For Brooklyn Bridge Flag Swap

Two artists from Berlin have claimed responsibility for the white flags that appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge last month.
Posted at 9:57 AM, Aug 13, 2014

Has a mystery that's been plaguing the New York Police Department since last month finally been solved?

Two German artists said Tuesday they're the ones who swapped the American flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge with all-white ones in late July. (Video via WCBS)

Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke said in an interview with The New York Times the stunt was an attempt to celebrate "the beauty of public space" and pay their respects to the bridge's German-born engineer.

The two men even provided The New York Times with this short video clip of a white flag waving in the wind with the Verizon building in the background to prove they were responsible.

But police don't seem so sure the duo is behind the incident. An NYPD spokesperson said in a statement investigators are "aware of the public statements" made by the two artists but didn't go into any further detail about the validity of their claims.

Prior to the duo's confession, another group dubbed "The New Pot Party" claimed responsibility for the act in a message posted to ReverendBudgreen.com

But both authorities and the public have definitely taken the stunt seriously since the white flags were spotted waving on top of the bridge July 22. (Video via CBS)

Almost immediately after the news broke, thousands of Twitter users began speculating about the meaning behind the act and who was responsible.

The BBC compiled a list of the top 10 whodunit theories circulating the Web. Our personal favorites would have to be Starbucks and aliens.

As for the stunt's meaning, many assumed it had an anti-American message, and it prompted major concerns over the bridge's security. But the artists say that wasn't their intention.

Wermke told the Times"This was not an anti-American statement."  


And Leinkauf added: "From our Berlin background, we were a little surprised that it got the reaction it did. We really didn't intend to embarrass the police."

Again, police have yet to confirm if the duo was really behind the white flag incident.

But as The Verge points out, their previous work has involved the two artists scaling large structures to take photographs.

As you can see from this post on their website, they've even worked with the Brooklyn Bridge in the past, tying a bunch of balloons on it back in 2007.

If authorities determine the German artists are in fact the culprits, the duo told the Times they are prepared to face the legal consequences. It's unclear exactly what those consequences would be.

This video includes images from Getty Images.