Alex Auriema, student from ACT course “Introduction to Networked Cultures and Participatory Media” presents the multi-channal video work Consent at Boston chapter of Disobedience exhibition.
In 2007 Simon Glik was passing through boston common only to find himself witness to a violent drug arrest -seeing that the police were using excessive force, Simon was compelled to reach for his phone and record the situation. Soon after Simon found himself placed in handcuffs and carted off to jail alongside the original offenders.
In 2011 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled unanimously that Simon Glik had a right to videotape police in action on Boston Common.1 Mr. Glik had sued three police officers and the City of Boston for violating his civil rights after police arrested him and charged him with illegal wiretapping, aiding the escape of a prisoner, and disturbing the peace.
There have been several similar incidents in Boston alone from the 2001 up to Glik’s court ruling this year. However, rulings in court prior to Glik’s case have not been so lucky. Many of the cases favoring the police’s arrests – standing behind a murky interpretation of the two-party consent rule that holds in Massachusetts (and 12 other States).
Since Simon Glik’s case the police have been much more wary of making arrests for ‘unlawful’ videotaping of their actions. In fact there has been city wide training of police to deal with such statues.
As access to video recording devices has become as common as carrying a watch – it is likely that court cases of this nature will not be rare. It seems to be one of the many socio-juridical ramifications of an increasingly video and mediated culture.
As the Occupy movement unfolds across the country this particular reality is exacerbated. Needless to say half the experience of a contemporary rally/protest is its mediation via live camera feeds, cell phone uploads to various social media outlets, facebook, youtube, the whole gambit.
Our exhaustive media has been particularly useful in tracking some of the most brutal moments of the revolutionary verve from Syria to UC Davis, and has subsequently aided in the speed at which the Occupy movement current has spread.
In direct response to the recent court decisions– the police have also become creative with their filming- stepping up their own right to film and carefully monitor the actions and encampments of occupiers across the nation.
Standing out from the ocean lcd screens is the now ubiquitous presence of the a ‘documentary unit:’ one officer responsible for the systematic coverage of all those engaged in protest, and another officer to ‘cover’ the camera.
The footage shown in ‘consent’ is part of ongoing project that is compiling the police’s diligent coverage of the public in protest. In collaboration with the Boston ACLU there is an open lawsuit to retrieve the footage to date that the Boston PD has been capturing of the public since the start of the Occupation in Boston.