Love, Peace and Terror

Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters

This art prank was submitted by Amsterdam artist Dadara:

Dadara, Pink Tank, nighttime

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve of 2006, I built a big pink tank, 8x8x3 metres, with four barrels on a rooftop in the centre of Amsterdam.

Everything was made prefab. I painted all the parts inside the building with a lot of friends during Christmas and then we dragged everything up the roof and assembled it as quickly as possible.

Dadara, Pink Tank, construction 1

Dadara, Pink Tank, construction 2

I didn’t tell anyone, but the impact was huge. After it was installed, I said I was going to blow it up with explosives.

The next morning at 8.30, police and some officials came to have it immediately removed. But it was Friday, the day before the weekend before New Year’s Eve, and it would be the following Tuesday before they could get a committee together in the townhouse to have it banned. They didn’t know what to do. I guess good timing is essential doing illegal stuff…

Dadara, Pink Tank, spotlights

I knew it would be seen immediately because of the huge spotlights (several 2 Kilowatt lights) we used to light it at night. The light was magenta. Combined with the color of the tank, it was almost fluorescent. I also added stroboscopes inside the barrels for the shooting effect and a huge searchlight to look out for enemy planes.

People might wonder if a huge pink tank on a roof in the centre was a prank or if the government had put it there or… But something else really funny happened. The Volkskrant, one of the major Dutch newspapers, photographed it and placed it prominently on its front page. But somehow after the photograph was taken it took weeks for them to publish it. By that time the tank was not there anymore. It was a coincidental prank, but very funny, since it started a discussion on some blogs wondering if the tank had existed at all.

Dadara, Pink Tank

I took it off the roof to blow it up with explosive wire and mortar grenades. This is not something you can do in a crowded urban environment, but I thought it was nice to keep people a bit insecure. I was telling the truth, but only part of the truth, playing the same game many of our governments do.

Then nature played some pranks on me. On the 19th of January, the biggest storm of the past decade blew over Amsterdam, ravaging and destroying roofs, trees, cars, etc. I hardly slept, but the next morning the tank was still there. On the 8th of February I had everything prepared to blow it up and film it. But we had another weather alarm! A huge snowstorm was rushing in! We had never ever had a snowstorm here in Holland, but we managed to blow it up just before everything turned white, beating the Huge Prankster in Heaven.

The explosion took place in front of the artist village of Ruigoord on the border of Amsterdam. This village had been squatted 30 years ago by artists and free spirits and it is now under threat. Huge industry and a new harbor are being built around it. The artists are being evicted. I thought it was a very symbolic gesture to “destroy” a piece of art there, symbolizing the “official” art destruction by the government.

I”™m now working on a video with lots of animation and hi-speed footage (3000 frames per second) of the explosion. The project can be tracked at

Several years ago, I invented the figure of Greyman, an anti-superhero in his combat against all that’s creative, fun and colorful. I built a huge 9 metres high grey concrete sculpture, my Statue of No Liberty. It was part of the Sculpture Biennale in Amsterdam, but I didn’t put it in its designated spot. Instead, I put it in front of the Rijksmuseum. I figured that once 8,000 kilos are somewhere, they won’t be moved easily. It remained there for almost three years. Street artists gave me a huge compliment by not spraying/taging anything on it.

Dadara, Statue of No Liberty