The Richmond Police Department installed surveillance cameras around the city secretly in April. Supposedly these cameras are in areas where graffiti occurs. The police say there are 11 of these cameras.There might be more.
To identify the cameras, we have this description to go on:
“Each FlashCam digital camera is a nondescript, gray metal box capped with a small solar panel. Its manufacturer, Q-Star Technology, recommends installing them 18-20 feet above the ground. It takes 12-megapixel photos, clear enough to identify people and capture a license plate number more than 250 feet away in total darkness, Q-Star’s website says.” (from Style Weekly article here: http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/somebodys-watching-you-city-installs-covert-cameras/Content?oid=1590191 )
We have heard reports that at least some of the cameras “talk” to bystanders who set off their motion detectors. Any video of this happening would also be appreciated.
Richmond Copwatch is looking for information on the location of these cameras. If you have seen any of these cameras around Richmond, please get in touch. 804 303 5449 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Here at the Wingnut, our privacy fence is less for privacy, and more for keeping Grits and Flapjack in the yard. With that in mind, we decided to add a purpose to the blank slate fence we had. We have now made the fence available as a graffiti practice wall of sorts. Anyone is welcome to come practice some art on the fence. When it gets covered up, we suggest that folks just keep on painting, covering it up as they please.
If anyone wants to do workshops for local kids, to teach them techniques from spray painting to stencilling, please let us know! Also, if anyone has any paints or spray paints or brushes etc. they could donate that would also rock! You would be surprised at how fast an 8 year old can go through a can of spray paint.
Graffiti is a means of artistic and political expression for individuals in a world where almost all public expression comes from corporations and governments. We believe that the very act of creating a public statement or art piece can be empowering, and that empowerment in itself is important and valuable.
We are also into the concept of graffiti and street art in general as an anti-gentrification tool. The presence of graffiti in an area can act as a deterrent to an influx of wealthier individuals who can be part of the gentrification process.
We are conscious of the fact that some of our neighbors care about the property value of their house. But we also have many neighbors who struggle with their yearly property tax bills, and many many more who rent their apartments and houses, and therefore will benefit if their rent stays the same or cheaper. Unfortunately, the absurd functioning of the capitalist real estate market is such that increasing property values ends up forcing out many low income people in a community. And in Richmond we do not have fixed rent, so gentrification is a really serious problem for many people.
Fighting gentrification is certainly a complex and not fully understood process. And we are not dismissive of the gentrifying potential of the white skin of many who live at the Wingnut. We hope that being committed members of our community, along with strategies such as our mural and our graffiti fence, might be parts of an overall strategy of resistance to gentrification in Southern Barton Heights. Its something we are pretty much constantly thinking about, experimenting with, and working on.
Here are some pictures of what the fence looks like now- keeping in mind that it is ever changing:
This morning Eric made a stencil out of our logo, so now we are going a little Wingnutttty.
We made staff shirts (pictures coming later). We are also making some really awesome patches to give out!
But here are pictures of the many things we have spray painted so far today: