(en) Surveillance Camera Players (fwd)

From pj lilley <pj@tao.ca>
Date Fri, 1 Oct 1999 06:27:01 +0000 (GMT)

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also in the vein of art against surveillance cameras is a troupe here in
toronto which organized groups of about 30 or so people to go and stare
back at the new cameras placed in the subways (public space?!)  and stare
for over a half hour, so as to clearly register on the cycles of the
cameras....   but here is news from new york....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 03:45:39 -0400
From: Blackout Books & Infoshop <blackout@panix.com>
Reply-To: a-infos-d@lists.tao.ca
Subject: (en) Surveillance Camera Players

Surveillance Camera Players

On Wednesday 15 September 1999, the Surveillance Camera Players (SCP)
performed SCP Headline News twice, both times in the company of and
videotaped by a crew from the Toronto-based cable show City TV. In contrast
to every other SCP performance of 1999, neither of these two performances
were "observed" by a lawyer from the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Despite steady rain, the first performance took place as scheduled at noon
in Washington Square Park. This public park has recently become one of the
SCP's favorite locations in which to perform, and not because the SCP are
especially fond of it or the surrounding neighborhood (which is dominated
by university students, yuppies and tourists), but because it is one of the
few locations in Manhattan other than federally-funded housing projects in
which surveillance cameras have been installed by the city government (and
not by private enterprises).

Because of the rain, few people saw the performance, though one person (a
long-time resident of the neighborhood who is active in local politics)
watched the whole show, enjoyed it very much and was interviewed afterwards
by the TV crew. At this performance, the SCP consisted of Bill and Miranda.
For the second time in its history, the SCP used music -- the Ice-T/Jello
Biafra collaboration called "Shut Up, Be Happy" -- as part of one of its
performances. (The SCP plan to make a kind of "rock video" with this song
as the soundtrack and SCP Headline News as the imagetrack.)
The second performance of SCP Headline News was given at around 10:30 p.m.
at the same subway station (14th Street and Seventh Avenue, Manhattan) at
which the SCP performed 1984 on both 3 November 1998 and 9 November 1998.
Here it would have been good to have had the observer from the NYCLU
present, because -- half-way through their second run-through of the play,
which is only two minutes long -- the SCP were deprived of their
constitutional rights to freedom of assembly by a total of seven police
officers from the New York Police Department (four undercovers and three 
uniforms), who, without citing what ordinance
or law the SCP were violating, ordered the performers to stop. Even though
the two players on hand (Bill and Paul) did in fact stop, one of the cops
-- the biggest and most openly hostile -- asked, "Do we arrest them now?"
Despite this fascist's sick desire to arrest Bill and Paul, the two SCPers
were allowed  to collect their things and go without further harassment.
This experience has convinced the SCP of at least three things: first, that
under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City has indeed become a police
state in which every and all protest or radical use of public space must be
suppressed; second, that the SCP (whose only "weapons" are their minds,
pieces of paper and ink) pose some sort of effective threat to NYC's police
state; and third,  that the SCP must therefore continue their work until 
this police state has
been utterly defeated.

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