Witness: Call Box Installations, 2000

Site Specific Public Installations, Performative Sculpture

This project as part of a larger work explores the continuing problem of police violence toward civilians. In this portion, Callbox Installation, McCallum and Tarry created call box tours on the streets of New York and an installation at the Bronx Museum of Art featuring video, audio testimony and photographs.

Context: McCallum and Tarry conceived of Witness following Abner Louima's torture while in police custody at the 70th Precinct Station House in Brooklyn on August 9, 1997. The incident induced shock, fear and indignation in citizens throughout the world. Eighteen months later, New York was once again thrust into the center of this issue when four New York City Police officers shot and killed the unarmed Amadou Diallo in a hail of forty-one bullets.

Description: The citywide installations of Witness: Perspectives on Police Violence, took the form of a tour. Its twenty day installation consisted of a series of traditional police and fire call boxes that incorporated photographic images of locations where police violence had occurred as well as audio testimony given by witnesses, police officers, activists, bereaved parents and survivors of police-related violence. The boxes were placed in spots were police violence had occurred as an implied memorial. This tour was presented in partnership with The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Acknowledgements: Witness testimonials given by: Iris Baez & David Baez, Lilian Flores Muniz & David Muniz, Mary Gaines, Anthony & Margarita Rosario, Carmen Morales, Nicholas Heyward Sr., Joyce & Qing Lan Huang, Reverend Al Sharpton, Ron Daniels, Susan Karten, Michael Hardy, Gerard J. Papa, Milta Calderon, Graham Weatherspoon, Desmond Robinson, Charles Billups, Francisca Martinez, Sha-King Graham and Tasha Williams.

Witness is presented in association with: The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The National Action Network, Parents Against Police Brutality, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, The National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, The Anthony Baez Foundation and Youth Force.

Funding for this project was provided by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Jerome Foundation, The New York State Council for the Arts, The Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue, The Gunk Foundation, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Deborah Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The New York Civil Liberties Union.