Though I often disagree with the sentiments I hear by folks at Occupy Wall Street encampments, I strongly support their rights to say them peacefully. So when I see so much footage of police using heavy handed tactics on non-violent protestors it not only makes me more sympathetic to OWS… it makes me feel sick.
I’ve been wanting to do some sort of installations inside of the abandoned newspaper receptacles spread throughout our city, so I spent most of Thanksgiving creating a diorama of the UC Davis pepper spray incident which was installed in an empty newspaper bin on Market Street this morning (Black Friday). My hope was to install a piece to get people thinking about recent police violence while they were trying to do their holiday shopping. If I had more time I would have created many more dioramas based on scenes from New York and Oakland.
I didn’t set out to create a Lego diorama, but it turns out that their “City sets” contained almost everything you need to create a protest scene. Seriously though, are the cities in Denmark filled with cops? There’s like a 2 to 1 ratio of police to civilians in these kits. With the help of my friend Jon, we modified the helmets and police gear to be a little more “riot”. I actually took a considerable amount of time customizing Lt. John Pike, the centerpiece of the diorama. Even going as far as to paint him with a matte black finish.
Jon also assembled some blinky LED throwies, which acted as an “attract mode” to get people to notice. I installed the piece at 8am and it appears to already have been removed by noon. I even saw some bomb squad cops on Market Street so I wonder if maybe they were involved somehow. So we spent 7 hours working on this piece that was installed for less than 4 hours and it was totally worth it. While cleaning out the bin and putting in my diorama, several people approached me and asked what the piece was all about. We had great conversations and my little project put big smiles on each of their faces.