Artist’s impression of projected cellphone imagery.

ART

Stop, a video installation will put faces to the numbers – hundreds of thousands – of people who are unjustly detained by police.

Stop is proposed by New York based Dread Scott and by Joann Kushner, an artist working in Liverpool, UK. As described by Dread Scott:

Stop will be a projection of portraits of several youth from East New York, Brooklyn and Liverpool, UK. Brooklyn will be on one wall and Liverpool will face them on the other. The life-sized projections will stand and face each other, the audience will be in the middle. Over time, each of the young adults will reveal how many times they have each been stopped by the police during their lifetime. The youth will be having a virtual “conversation” across an ocean with each other as well as with the audience.”

PHOTO

Yesterday, I posted a long conversation with Nina Berman about Stop & Frisk. Berman had not found any other fellow photographers working on the issue of Stop & Frisk. I found one other photographer (who’s work is ongoing and wishes not to publicize it yet) and one artist – Dread Scott.

Dread’s a lovely guy; I’ve written about his work on the prison industrial complex before and I interviewed him last year during PPOTR. Here’s what he says about this Stop & Frisk and this project:

“Last year, New York police stopped almost 700,000 people as part of their “Stop and Frisk” policy. The overwhelming majority, about 90%, were doing nothing wrong at the time and were completely innocent. Most were young and Black or Latino. A similar policy exists in Liverpool and developed after NY police chief William Bratton was invited to be a consultant in another UK city, Hartlepool, in 1996.”

It should be added that UK Prime Minister David Cameron wanted to appoint Bratton as Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service following the London Riots of August 2011. Cameron was later overruled by Home Secretary Theresa May, who insisted that only a British citizen should be able to run the Service.

Dread has led photography and art workshops with young adults from East NY Brooklyn (a neighborhood with one of the city’s highest police Stop and Frisk rates) and Joann has been working with similar youth in Liverpool. Using cell phones, students have made a powerful series of photographs about their neighborhoods and lives.

Stop will be exhibited in Rush Arts Gallery, NYC from September 13th, 2012.

START KICKING

Kickstarter has definitely reached its saturation point; The Onion’s take made me laugh hardest.

But you don’t even need to feel guilty about this one; Dread’s already reached his target (sure, he’d like a little extra: who doesn’t?)

What’s more important is the message of his work. Until now, I’ve never seen connections made between the US and the UK – between New York and Liverpool – over the Stop & Frisk issue. The issue is rarely framed within the context of youth; we don’t think of the victims as kids … but in many cases they are.

Stop & Frisk is a canary issue. How the controversy resolves itself will be an indication of whether we have progressed; if we are interested and involved in the welfare of others, or if we remain indifferent. It’s driven by Homeland Security dollars and it messes with peoples’ lives. It’s born out of a divided society, just as prisons were. Now the heavy-handed response is on peoples’ doorsteps.

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