A physical/web art installation by Stephen Wilson

****End of Physical Crime-Z-land. Long live Virtual Crime-Z-land   Like many of the great amusement parks of yesteryear Crime-Z-land was decommissioned as of July,1998.   These pages allow you to vicariously experience Crime-Z-Land through its documentation and links.

<<View Crime-Z-land Quicktime movie documentation >>
(Note this is a 55 mb file - not advised for low-bandwidth)

A "Playland" of Crime:   CrimeZyland, an interactive public art exhibit located in the outdoor installation space across from San Francisco's City Hall, offers attractions such as Map-Z-crime, Choose-Z-crime, Scan-Z-crime, and Web-Z-crime to visitors and Web surfers alike. CrimeZyland physcially takes  place from March, 98 to June, 98.  It is part of the Exploration: City Site Public Art series sponsored by the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery.
What Is It?  CrimeZyland is an art installation that transforms the City Site lot into a computer controlled living "map" that creates light, motion, and sound corresponding to the minute by minute statistical level of crimes committed in San Francisco districts, as indicated by the Police Department CABLE crime statistics. The viewer can experience the crime "pulse" of the city firsthand.

Artistic Agenda:: This installation appeals on a sensual level, and also encourages viewers to think about deeper issues.

  1. Crime as Entertainment:: Using the strategy of absurd extension, this installation asks viewers to question the media circus created around crime. Are TV crime reports or this humorous "Disneyland of Crime" appropriate events?
  2. Deconstructing Crime: What's a crime? Who defines it? What are our prejudices about crime? Are street crimes worthy of more attention than other crimes against the community such as poisoning the Bay or creation of dangerous products that kill or maim?
  3. Information visualization and access: The installation will use the tools of public sculpture to give viewers intuitive access to this provocative information about urban life.
  4. Real vs. Virtual Presence The installation asks viewers to think about the difference between physical and Internet participation in public events. Some analysts note that because of crime, urban dwellers increasingly engage in "cocooning" . This installation offers enhanced control options to those brave viewers who venture out to be physically present.
What Can Visitors Do at CrimeZyland?  Just like any self respecting theme park, CrimeZyland offers a variety of attractions.

***This event de-activated with the de-installation of physical Crime-Z-land

Map-Z-Crime See and hear the pulse of crime 24 hours a day.  The City Site Lot will be transformed into a map of San Francisco defined by California poppies and crime tape markers. Poles placed at the 10 highest crime spots spring into life when a crime would statistically be happening in that location. (Event available only to physical visitors)  Go to Map-Z-Crime for detailed map and images of crime spots (80k requires Navigator 3+ or IE 4+).   Also check links on Information Visualization.

***This event de-activated with the de-installation of physical Crime-Z-land

Choose-Z-Crime:  Determine the crime focus - even from 1000's of miles away.  The lot can visualize several kinds of crime - composite, murder, rape, assault, robbery, car theft, ecological (pollution of the air,water,earth, destruction of species), bizness as usual (corruption, oppression, fraud, negligence). Visitors can choose what statistics are featured.   The robots will respond only to the focus crime.  Go to Choose-Z-Crime to choose the focus and to link to the Crime-Z-Camera showing physical viewers.  Also follow links for information about varieties of crime. (Priority control available to physical visitors.  Web viewers can make the choice when no physical visitor is in control.)

Scan-Z- Crime:  Listen to live police transmissions to hear crime as it happens.  Few people realize that in some countries police intercommunication is publicly available via special "scanner' radios.  This access is currently under legislative assault and may not be available in a few years.  Follow links to scanner codes and information about scanners. (Live scanner available only to physical visitors)

Web-Z-Crime :  Speak your opinion about crime!  Web visitors can explain what they think is the worst kind of crime. A speech synthesizer will speak these words into the air at the City Site Lot. Follow link to Web-Z-Crime to speak your opinions.  Also follow links to information about crimes(Event available only to web visitors.)

Live web camera of flesh visitors to CrimeZyland

Gallery of past surveillance camera views (50k)


Links to web events focused on crime, crime analysis, scanner radio information, etc

Technical explanation of how CrimeZyland was built

Quicktime movie of CrimeZyland in action (300K

Links to detailed map and images of crime spots (80k requires Navigator 3+ or IE 4+)

For more information contact:
Stephen Wilson, Professor, Conceptual/Information Arts, Art Department, San Francisco State University

415 338-2291   swilson@sfsu.edu http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson/

Thanks to those who have helped create this installation:  Michael Wong, Bruce Cannon & Style Management Systems (for design and fabrication of kinetic poles), Vivian Wong, Kasey Asberry, Walter Derlinger, Clay Young (for construction advice), Cathy Witzling, Sophia Wilson,  Mark Thorpe, Donald Day, Peggy Hughes and Artist-in-Residence program at Sanitary Fill Company, Funrise Toys (for donation of toy police cars), SF Police Firing Range, Alan Korn (for legal advice on scanners), BALA, Lisa Galley (for consultation on earth works), Mike Mosher, Paula Levine, Chris Carlsson, Mark Alldritt (for authoring Mac PPP applescript commands), the developers of Fetch, the developers of Mac Web Cam, Brian Wiener, SFSU's Art Department, Rupert Jenkins, and the SF Art Commission Gallery