Between 1 and 3 p.m. on April Fool's Day, which in the year 2000 fell on a very sunny Saturday, the Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) performed in front of surveillance cameras located in Washington Square Park and in front of the Waverly Theater on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. In part set up to exploit the holiday, which is a natural for the SCP, and in part to be taped and interviewed a second time by Langley Productions, which somehow blew its coverage of the SCP's 29 February 2000 performance at City Hall, these performances were noteworthy for their introduction of three new weapons in the SCP's arsenal.
First, there's the map of Washington Square Park, which shows the precise location of each of the 11 surveillance cameras that the New York City Police Department has installed therein. For these "Foolish" performances, this map was reproduced on the back of the usual statement the SCP distributes when it performs in the park. A total of 40 copies of this double-sided flyer were given away as the group performed.
Second, there's the brand new play by Lisa, one of the founders of the SCP and back in action with the group after a short hiatus. Untitled as of yet, this play derives almost completely from the chants of protesters at demonstrations against the police murder of New Yorker Amadou Diallo, who was killed because trigger happy cops (claimed) they mistook reaching for a wallet and the personal identification inside, and reaching for a gun. Composed of three boards, the play proclaims POLICE ACADEMY 101 (and shows a police badge); THIS IS A WALLET (and shows a wallet falling open); and NOT A GUN (and shows a pistol). Performed for the first time at the park, this play, like You are being watched for your own safety, will surely become one of the group's mainstays.
Third and last, but certainly not least, there's Kate of Rebel Fux, a superb zine of detournement. A wonderful Fool, she helped Bill, (the other) Kate and Lisa make these Foolish performances some of the most relaxed and enjoyable the SCP has ever done. Great potential here for future development: Rebel Fux can sign (use sign language), which is perfect for performing silently in front of surveillance cameras.
These Foolish performances, which drew the attention of not one police officer, were also attended by reporters from The New York Times Magazine and MSNBC, both of which were supposedly planning pieces on video surveillance and privacy, and a video team from Court TV.
Contact the Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail e-mail:notbored@NOSPAMoptonline.net
By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998