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(en) Spain, Surveillance Camera Players in Barcelona, Spain

From SCP-New York <notbored@panix.com>
Date Mon, 4 Nov 2002 16:05:02 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

posted by the New York Surveillance Camera Players, an 
anarcho-situationist group

La Plaza de George Orwell, Barcelona

At 7:30 pm on Monday 7 October 2002, the Surveillance Camera Players 
(SCP) performed in front of a police surveillance camera installed in 
the Plaza de George Orwell in Barcelona, Spain. For this unusual 
performance, the SCP consisted of Bill Brown of the SCP-New York, who 
was in Barcelona to participate in a conference on culture jamming 
and hacktivism at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona 
(CCCB), two members of the Italian art group 0100101110101101.org, 
Juan from Retro You, Nuria, and several "locals" who happened by the 
performance and liked what they saw. Also in attendance as 
spectators/photographers were Hans from Uebermorgen and Stefano from 
El Pais.

Organized by Digital Is Not Analog, which had previously brought Bill 
to Bologna, Italy, in May 2001, the conference consisted of four 
presentations, one each by the Surveillance Camera Players (4 October 
2002), Uebermorgen (5 October 2002), Casseurs de Pub (9 November 
2002) and Electronic Disturbance Theater (10 November 2002). For Bill 
Brown's presentation, which was translated sentence-by-sentence into 
Spanish by Isabel (hired by the CCCB) and "streamed" live on
the Internet by Radio Red, more than 150 people showed up. In 
addition to hearing Bill talk about the history of surveillance 
cameras, their relationship to the militarization of the police, and 
the activities of the SCP-New York, the audience-members saw 20 
minutes of video (the SCP-New York's classic performance of 1984, 
Bill's appearance on the Nachman Show, and a  Spanish-language 
segment on the SCP aired by Nosolomusica in January 2001.) Then there 
was a
long question and answer period, during which such subjects as 
surveillance in England and Australia were discussed at some length. 
After his presentation, Bill went to Conversas, a squat/performance 
space at which the members of Yo Mango were showing a bi-lingual 
videotape that they themselves made about their (in)famous 5 July 
2002 "performance" at a hip
Barcelona boutique (Yo Mango specializes in shoplifting).

Like many of the performances that the SCP-New York gave in Germany, 
this one in Barcelona relied almost completely on pantomimed action. 
The only placards were a pair of signs that said "Surveillance Camera 
Players" in Spanish and English, and a sign made by Nuria and one of 
the members of 0100101110101101.org that asked "Que cono miras?" 
("What the fuck are you looking at?"). With an improvised "altar" 
placed directly beneath the surveillance camera, the group performed 
a pair of plays (God's Eyes Here on Earth and The Circle) twice in a 
row -- that is, until four police officers showed up and (rather 
theatrically!) grabbed and ripped the signs saying "Surveillance 
Camera Players" to pieces. After applauding this (unexpected?) 
climax, the SCP-Barcelona took their bows and paid attention to an 
argument that had broken out between a
shopkeeper and supporters of the performance. The shopkeeper was 
saying that the cameras were a good thing and that "foreigners" such 
as ourselves didn't know what people like him had to contend with.

Quite obviously, a plaza named after George Orwell, who lived nearby 
during the Spanish Civil War, was the perfect place for a performance 
by the SCP. It's also a fucking ironic place for the police to 
operate surveillance cameras. But that's Barcelona, or rather that's 
Barcelona since the 1992 Olympic Games, which really screwed up the 
city. Whole neighborhoods, many of them historic and inhabited by 
immigrants and (other) poor people, were destroyed to "make room" for 
huge hotels, restaurants and boulevards. To show the world that it 
was a different place than it had been under Franco, Barcelona paid 
homage to the man who had once fought the fascists and paid homage to 
Catalonia. But the problem for the city government was the fact that 
the area once inhabited by George Orwell was, shall we say, 
inhospitable to tourists. The area was now inhabited by African and 
Central Asian immigrants, and frequented by young people who went to 
"La Plaza Trippi" to buy and use illegal drugs. And so, to make the 
area "safe," the police installed surveillance cameras and signs that 
warn people that they are being watched. No doubt these signs are 
frequently defaced with quotations from 1984, as they were on the day 
the SCP-Bacelona performed.

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