Before the bullet hits the body

Balaskas, Bill [Artist] and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition [Artist] (2021) Before the bullet hits the body. (Ground Mural).


‘Before the bullet hits the body’ takes its title from the seminal 2018 report by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, which led to the dismantlement of the LOS ANGELES Police Department’s (LAPD) ‘predictive’ policing programs. The ALGORITHM presented at Pedion tou Areos describes an area’s predicted crime rate based on its historical average rate of crimes combined with recent trends. The Coalition’s community organizing expanded the critique of the LAPD’s algorithm beyond just questioning the ‘feedback loop,’ showing how police use the veneer of science to mask their violence. Thus, exposing crime data as a social construct intended to contain, control and criminalize Black, brown and poor COMMUNITIES. The Coalition argued that surveillance and crime data create the conditions of police violence “before the bullet hits the body.” Those conditions include incidents of police brutality like the 2020 killing of George Floyd, which led to global protests by the Black Lives Matter movement. The installation adopts the visual language of these protests, which included slogans written on major roads in the U.S. Along with the installation at Pedion tou Areos, the project consists of a curated presentation of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition’s work on Stegi’s website and a series of online discussions.

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