[...] While Pleasantville detourns "utopian" television and its easily detected commonplaces, the Surveillance Camera Players detourn the panopticon, a mechanism -- studied by Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish -- that has become widespread with the absolute proliferation of cameras installed in streets, neighborhoods, buildings, shops and all other places, and hidden in all sorts of small intimate items. Smile, you're always being recorded! The success of such TV shows as No Limits and Big Brother suggests that we are entering the age prefigured by George Orwell, but control has taken the forms of entertainment, the mass audience, and the simulated narcotic in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.
And yet the security and the homogenization of behavior that are imposed by the presence of surveillance cameras will soon be even more effectively applied. According to the December 1999 issue of New Scientist, English researchers have developed a sophisticated system of visual security that can detect any form of behavior that isn't "normal" and thus can predict criminal behavior. This global Truman Show may be suddenly congested by the Surveillance Camera Players, who stage happenings and plays by Genet and Artaud in shopping centers and convenience stores, using logos taken from commercials. The SCP are neo-situationists who detourn the real media of our time with transgressive and utopian art [...]
[Part of a long essay on "Culture Jamming" by Ricardo Rosas. First published by Rizoma (date unknown). Translated from the Portuguese by Art Toad, December 2000.
Contact the Surveillance Camera Players
By e-mail Info@notbored.org
By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998