In an exhibition space in Long Island City, patrons are invited to walk through a warehouse with police lights flashing.
Video plays on loop of Freddie Gray’s arrest in Baltimore, and police shootings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Eventually, a recording shouts “This is the police! Put your hands in the air!” A motion sensor activates when guests put their hands in the air, and the sound of a gunshot rings out.
The art installation, by artists Atif Ateeq and Roopa Vasudevan, opened over the weekend. It is intended to be thought-provoking, the artists told Metro.
“People do walk out feeling a little uncomfortable and disoriented and that’s the goal of the piece,” said Ateeq. “When people came out there were definitely conversations they were having about it, exchanging how they felt about it with other people that had experienced it and just sharing their thoughts on it.”
The head of the NYPD Union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, doesn’t quite see it that way, the Daily News reports.
“This so-called ‘art project’ is based upon a lie and perpetuates a falsehood about police officers and their use of force,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told the Daily News. “If art is supposed to enlighten and uplift, this piece of crap doesn’t qualify.”
“We welcome him to come check out the exhibit himself and then tell us how he feels about it,” said Atif in response to Lynch’s criticism.
The installation is open until Tuesday night by appointment through Flux Factory, and Ateeq said they will be looking for other opportunities to put on the exhibit again for a longer period of time in the coming months.