Sitting inside a darkened room, surrounded by a wraparound blue velvet curtain, guests at the Queens Museum can experience a police ride-along augmented by artificial intelligence tools. My Blue Window gives visitors a look into the practice of predictive policing, a controversial tactic which the NYPD adopted in 2015. The new media installation, which is accompanied by a phone app, is the first solo exhibit from a Brooklyn-based artist who goes by the name American Artist.

Predictive policing is a tactic that uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to dispatch law enforcement to neighborhoods where there is a perceived “high risk” of crime, before any crime is reported. The tactic was previously used in counter-terror national security efforts, and over the years, has been tailored by private companies to be used in police departments in large cities across America. Predictive policing, which claims to deliver impartial information, has been criticized for perpetuating the racial bias and privacy violation inherent in previous flawed, police methods, such as “stop-and-frisk” and “broken windows.”

Courtesy of the Queens Museum. Photo by Hai Zhang

American Artist sets My Blue Window in 2015, when predictive policing was first introduced to New York City. The film is a fictionalized rendering of what predictive policing looks like, mixing science fiction graphics with the themes of surveillance, racial bias, and the privatization of government. The bleachers on which guests sit are meant to provide a voyeuristic aspect. The phone application, which is available for Android users, provides live updates on news concerning predictive policing. In this project, Artist uses the technology of predictive policing to point to the larger issue of systemic racism in America, citing this technology as a specific example of how racism can be deeply engrained in a seemingly neutral system.

Courtesy of the Queens Museum. Photo by Hai Zhang

My Blue Window was made possible by The Queens Museum-Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. This fellowship was established to help emerging visual artist in New York City. Two artists are selected each year to receive $20,000 to develop and exhibit a project at the Queens Museum.

Next, check out more exhibitions on view at the Queens Museum this season: Explore the Zany Art of Rube Goldberg at the Queens Museum and Sit on a Pile of Jeans in New Interactive Queens Museum Exhibit