The Arizona Surveillance Camera Players (AZSCP) is a group [of] theatre artists, activists, and young hearts and minds dedicated to protesting the proliferation of public surveillance cameras and web cams. Our objective is to create awareness and public opposition to those attempting to violate our constitutionally protected rights to privacy. We manifest our resistance by performing specially adapted plays directly in front of these cameras and use our public appearances, our interviews with the media, and our website to deconstruct the cynical myth that only those who are "guilty of something" are opposed to being monitored by unknown eyes.
Charles Banaszewski, an Arizona State University graduate student in Theatre for Youth, founded AZSCP in February 2001 after teaching his Theatre for Social Change class about the New York Surveillance Camera Players (NYSCP). AZSCP is the first group to follow in their footsteps, and since the group's inception, a number of other groups from around the world have begun protesting government surveillance.
The group originally consisted of many of Banaszewski's students, and has transformed into a combination of students, friends, teenagers, and local activists. He believes the AZSCP helps young people empower themselves and overcome oppressions through theatre and politics. Young people recognize the power of knowledge and how knowing one's rights can help overcome obstacles that normally would frustrate and deter young people from wanting to speak up and express their opinion. AZSCP gives young people a public platform and shows them that their efforts can, and do, make a difference.
The AZSCP specifically focuses their protests at Tempe's government sponsored web site that broadcasts the public's images without their knowledge. AZSCP wants the government to inform the public and make people aware of the hidden surveillance cameras. The proliferation of surveillance and web technology has branched off to cameras that monitor traffic and issue speeding tickets to violators. The police then send the tickets regular mail. We inform the public not to pay because tickets must be hand delivered or sent via certified mail.
Speaking of the law, the AZSCP opposes Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio's unconstitutional web site, www.crime.com, which broadcasts the lives of his inmates over the Internet for voyeurs' entertainment. AZSCP also performs inside restaurants and bars that broadcast the public and many of the workers' images without their knowledge over the Internet.
AZSCP performances touch upon many different types of anti-surveillance issues, but their major focus will always be preserving and protecting the Constitution's Fourth Amendment rights. www.notbored.org/arizona-scp.html
[Published in the 20 October 2001 issue of The Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Newsletter.]
Contact the Arizona Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail Arizona SCP
By snail mail: Charles D. Banaszewski, Department of Theatre, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2002.
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