proposes a series of interventions and conversations between citizens and the police.

We take two points of departure*:

1) eyes, a rarely seen film from 1971, when filmmaker Stan Brakhage arranged to ride with the Pittsburgh police for a day, shooting the city from the windshield of a patrol car on active duty; and

2) a poster, issued in the 1970s in Berkeley, with the image of a typical ‘hippie’ male, unshaven, long-haired, with the appropriated text of a police recruitment advertisement under the word, in block text: WANTED.

* Neither the film nor the poster image are widely available. Brakhage’s film, unavailable in DVD or online, is nearly impossible to look up due to the similarity between its title and the more widely  known “The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes.” The poster was spotted nearly a year ago in an obscure publication of 1970s radical poster art, and has not been located in digital or print form since.

As an answer to these two (absent) artifacts, we intend to re-make Brakhage’s film in a series of ‘ride-arounds’ with the Richmond and Oakland Police forces, and to imagine a new relationship between the police and the public through an open desk at the Oakland Museum where police and citizens interact around pressing local issues, from the gang injunctions to everyday surveillance.

Footage from ride-around with Richmond Police, 2009.

“The police have a duty to make what they do available to the public. We are a customer service agency, an agency paid for by your tax dollars.”
– Captain Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police (at top, in dialogue via skype with participants at Radical Citizenship: The Tutorials at Hunter College, February 2011)

What does the polis do?
Captain Mark Gagan of the Richmond Police

“On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.”- Oath of Honor recommended by the International Association of Chiefs of Police

Stan Brakhage filmed “eyes” through the windshield of a Pittsburgh police car

WANTED: Human Rights officers? Peace officers? Justice officers? Officers of ethics? Generosity agents? Agents of common sense?…

 

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