The first serious video segment made about the Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) was produced by Koula Bouloukos and broadcast on the Canadian Brodcast Company show N3TV on 11 November 1999. (As we noted in our response to the show that aired on Zone Libre in October 1998, the first people who put the SCP on TV presented the group as "comic relief" from an otherwise very serious subject.) About five minutes long, the segment that aired on N3TV was taped in New York in September 1999. It includes a great many shots of surveillance cameras in New York City, interpolates relevant information about their number and the lack of laws governing their installation in public places, and includes good interview segments with both the SCP's Bill Brown and Norman Siegel, the Director of the the New York Civil Liberties Union, as well as with NYPD Chief Howard Safir and several "everyday people" encountered in Washington Square Park. (Though they are approaching the issue from very different perspectives, both Bill and Norman Siegal say pretty much the same things: surveillance cameras do not make people fell safe against crime; the cameras make certain areas of the city safe to own and operate a business, and so do nothing for people who do not own property.) Bill also explores the tendency of police officers to use surveillance technology for the purposes of sexual gratification.
As good as it was -- and, to be fair, it remains one of the best pieces on the SCP ever aired on TV -- Koula's show could have been even better. It doesn't include any of the interviews conducted with SCPers Susan and Jack DeMolay, and, in one key shot taken in Washington Square Park, it manages to lose Miranda in the shadows behind Bill. In general, the show gives the mistaken impression that the SCP consists of Bill and Bill alone. The show also doesn't contain any of the truly amazing footage that Koula's crew managed to take during an SCP performance that was interrupted by a total of seven officers from the New York Police Department.
Since the broadcast, Koula has refused to answer several e-mailed messages regarding licensing of the footage her team recorded but didn't use. The N3TV Web site quotes Norman Siegal but makes absolutely no reference to the SCP. It's as if Koula is sorry she put the SCP on the air. What's up with that?
Contact the Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail SCP@notbored.org
By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998