[...] The international network of Surveillance Camera Players subverts technologies of repression through theatrical confrontation. The focal point is New York, where, since the mid-1990s, SCP's founder Bill Brown has organized monthly [sic] tours of Manhattan to introduce New Yorkers to the vast array of public and private surveillance cameras monitoring their daily activities. The SCP also conducts street performances in front of these cameras. Their theatre is directed in part at the police officers and security guards who do the monitoring, but the primary audience is the unwitting public walking by. Since the cameras do not monitor sound, character, setting and action are communicated by pantomime, costuming, scenery, and words and/or pictures on poster boards -- tactics reminiscent of puppet theatre. The SCP videotape their plays and hand out information flyers explaining who they are and why they're performing at a particular location. Protests against the death penalty, for example, have been performed in front of courthouse surveillance cameras [sic] and antiglobalization actions have targeted security facilities at banks [sic]. As corporate, government, military, and law-enforcement surveillance exapnds, SCP groups across North America and Europe are bringing attention to this development through such performances which, thus far, have proven themselves immune to repression. (In the absence of the criminalizing of ideas, a small group performing in a public place for three or four minutes is committing no crime and is, therefore, impossible to shut down.) [...]

(Written by Alan Antliff and published in the Vol. 27, No 4., Spring 2002 issue of Mix: Independent Art & Culture Magazine.)

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NY Surveillance Camera Players