Posts Tagged ‘incidence report’

Securing Amusement

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

INDIVIDUAL: IS agent, I. Vamos with D. Mercer
GROUP SIZE: Currently unknown
NATURE OF GROUP: Employees of both Disneyland in Anaheim California, USA and Disneyworld Magic Kingdom in Orange County Florida, USA

This report was written by agent I. Vamos – a double agent for IS and The Center for Land Use Interpretation. A version of this report was originally published in 1996 in The Report #1 an Institute of Sociometry zine of incidence reports that was discontinued in 1999 after issue #4. This is also the third report in is EMANCIPATION, a handmade book in an edition of 200, and the official anthology of is at 21.


Disneyland, 4/25/96:
Conditions: Sunny approximately 70 degrees f.

2:47: Drove into employee’s lot. Waved and smiled like an old friend. Guard passed me through. Parked car
2:55: Coast was clear – scrambled up fifteen feet of chain link, over vines and barbed wire at the top.
2:56: Dropped to ground inside.
2:56: Heard footsteps and grunting. Looked up. Two men ran at me. Older one yelled in radio “WE GOT THE RUNNER!” Younger one confiscated my leatherman tool. Younger one told me not to move. Frisked me.
3:01: Each took me by an elbow and walked me through train tunnel. I was lead into a concealed door and down a hallway that smelled like a government building or maybe a public-school cafeteria during non-feeding hours.
3:05: They put me in a plexiglass cell. Five other chairs plus mine. Surveillance. Waiting.
4:23: Older man struggled with handle. Opened door. Walked me past security offices with video surveillance monitors. Took my New York drivers license. Asked me fourteen questions. I replied. I was a tourist from New York. He left with my ID. Came back. Told me I was barred from Disneyland for two years. If I try it again, there will be a $500 fine, he said.
4:53: Escorted to front gate. Released.


Disneyland is well fortified against its urban surroundings. A six-lane perimeter road surrounding the park helps keep pedestrians to a minimum. The fifteen-foot fence combines with a thick hedge to keep gawkers from peering into off-limits areas. Vibration sensors on the fence alert security as soon as a breach is attempted. Staff is trained for immediate action – it is common that people try to hop the fence.

Restraining order doesn’t cover Disneyworld in Orange County Florida…


Disneyworld Magic Kingdom, 5/18/96:
Conditions: Mostly sunny, humid 90 degrees f.

5:25: Drove rental car to Magic Kingdom lot. Told attendant at gate we were going to turn around. Entered and parked. Walked to monorail. Rode monorail to park entrance.
6:30: Walked west of the park entrance to service entrance area.
6:45: Crawled through bushes. Jumped over four foot fence. Ran into staff parking area. Walked toward edge of lot where there were many Disney staff milling about. Looked for someone from security. Costumed band members were warming up. Found someone with an ear phone and radio.
7:00: Asked him how to get to the Magic Kingdom. He looked puzzled. Asked again. He asked what show we were with. Told him we weren’t. He asked if we were guests. We said no. He asked if we were staff. We said no. Told him we had jumped the fence. He said, “OH… YOU’RE OUT OF BOUNDS GUESTS.” We said no. It didn’t bother him. He called a van. He asked where we were parked. Told him out in the lot. He asked if we paid. One of us said no, the other said yes. This did not phase him.
7:26: Made up some lies that we hoped would really incriminate us. The van didn’t come. He had to give a cue to the marching band. He brought us through a concealed doorway, into the magic Kingdom tourist area and gave a cue to the band after consulting with a film crew. He left us standing and talked to them about fifty feet away
7:41: He came back, walked us out the front gate, and said have a good day.



Disney World keeps out unwanted visitors using a combination of natural and constructed geograpical features. The swampy landscape is impassible except via the park’s own roads. The divided highways are the only conduit to the 28,000-acre facility. Orlando is over 20 miles away. Each of the four theme parks comprising Disney World is surrounded by a moat which serves the dual purpose of drainage and security. Unlike Disneyland’s tall and secure border fences, Disney World’s are small and unassuming, with no advanced surveillance technology around the remote perimeters. Security staff almost refused to acknowledge that we were even doing something wrong.

Findings and Final Report:

Neither Disneyland nor Disney World proved to be the experience we expected. The rumors about honeycombs of underground tunnels, secret nerve centers, and the little people who really run the place still remain unsolved despite our hands-on research techniques. This leads us to believe that additional research methods must be explored. Disguises or mock fights, for example, might prompt security personnel to take us down a different path through the entrails of Disney. The foregone conclusion from all our data (like any empirical science), is that there are more questions.

While our survey of park security systems came up short, we did prove the viability of our research methodology as a general tourist practice. In the era of extreme sports, and that oxymoron “eco-tourism,” it seems only natural that one should develop parasitic tourist experiences that feed upon the existing infrastructure of amusement parks. These experiences might adequately be summed up as “transgressive.” The “transgressive tourist” goes to popular destinations just like everyone else, but then peels away the veneer to find out what lies underneath. In many ways, a transgressive tourist experience has advantages over the front-door approach. Amusement parks are meant to be sites of distilled fun and excitement. They lack, however, a degree of unpredictability often associated with thrill seeking. After paying fifty bucks to enter the Magic Kingdom through the front gate, the guest experiences a predictable simulated world, sometimes entertaining, curious, or exciting. The transgressive tourist (the out-of-bounds guest or runner), however, spends no money jumping the fence and finding out what lies in the real heart of the parks: the off-limits service areas. One can entertain an unpredictable, adrenaline filled visit, while at the same time learning valuable information about how these things work.

This report was most recently published in is EMANCIPATION a 130 page book with 2-color letterpress covers printed and hand-bound with a Japanese stitch in an edition of 200. is EMANCIPATION is a 21 year anthology of art intervention and prank collective The Institute of Sociometry edited, designed, and partly authored by Peter Miles Bergman and edited by MCA Denver Curatorial Associate Zoe Larkins. 


Fantasy Football Parking Lot

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

INDIVIDUAL: Parking patrons attending a Denver Broncos game
NATURE OF GROUP: IS agents disguised as parking lot attendants
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: Fantasy Football Parking Lot

By Jared Jacang Meyer
Originally published by The Westword
Published here with N© permission by IS

The Home Team:
The Fantasy Football Parking Lot wins a battle against bureaucracy.

Peter Miles Bergman calls it a drive-by art show. Jim “Handsome” Hanson thinks of it more as vigilante code enforcement. The three kids riding their bikes down the alley have no idea what to think of Bergman’s experiment.

They skid to a stop in the gravel and look up at the two parking-lot attendants in fluorescent orange vests hopping from foot to foot. “What’s this?” one kid asks.

“No parking,” Hanson answers, as he and Bergman wave their official fluorescent-orange flags at the kids as if they were an Excursion, an Accord and an Outback waiting to pull in. “This isn’t a place to park.”

The kids stare at the yellow parking strips taped into three regulation-sized spaces in the oil-stained back lot three blocks west of Invesco Field at Mile High. The orange cones, the flexible plastic posts, the wooden sign inscribed with the word “NO” in two-foot-tall red letters. Then they look at each other, shrug and ride off.

The Broncos-Dolphins game starts in an hour, and the Cheltenham Heights neighborhood is packed with fans looking to circumvent the gouge-fest on Federal Boulevard, where spaces in privately owned lots go for $35 a pop. Legions of jersey-clad football lovers march merrily toward the stadium, thinking they’ve avoided the steep fee by parking in the residential areas neighboring Invesco Field. They’re oblivious to the army of tow trucks and parking-enforcement vehicles lying in wait, ready to haul off any car not displaying the proper residential-parking permit.

The enforcers are so ruthlessly efficient that many of the cars they’ll tow actually belong to residents of this largely Spanish-speaking area, residents who don’t know how to procure a permit or can’t afford the $30-a-year tag, Bergman says. The parking police only come to this neighborhood on game days, according to Bergman’s neighbor, Jesus Gonzales; the rest of the year, they won’t respond if you call them. “It used to be only a $15 fine,” he says of the numerous game-day tickets he’s received over the years. “Now it’s $60. Sixty dollars! They’re robbing the neighborhood.”

Gonzales understands the city’s motives: money. But he and his neighbors don’t have a clue why Bergman and Hanson, the men known simply as “gringos locos,” are turning the rear of Bergman’s home at 1576 Hooker Street into a faux parking lot — and then turning away prospective customers and their money.

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Parking Lot.

As founder of the dispersed art-prank society known as the Institute of Sociometry, Bergman is fascinated by how individuals react to subtle and often bizarre disruptions to the routines of daily life. In the little packet of Institute paraphernalia displayed in Bronco colors on a podium next to the parking cones, he defines Sociometry as “the quantitative analysis of individuals and their relationships to groups.” The Institute’s agents subscribe to “guerilla Sociometry,” he says, which has no allegiance to “the rigors of mathematics or even science!” Or even reason. Bergman’s stunts are subtle to a fault. There’s no method to his madness – just method.

The formula behind this performance piece began last year, when Bergman got a parking ticket in front of his house during a pre-season Broncos game. Because parking was at such a high premium – and because he was unemployed at the time – he decided to sell spots in the back for $10 to $15 one game day. Many drivers were suspicious: “Is it okay to park here? Am I going to get towed?” they asked. Their fears were easily overcome by the hefty savings, though, and in less than an hour, Bergman had made a cool seventy bucks. It wasn’t long before his neighbors caught on and began directing cars to their lots as well.

Then, in September 2003, Denver’s Neighborhood Inspection Services issued an alert, warning game-goers that the area is not zoned for commercial use and that it is illegal for homeowners to sell parking on their property. “If someone flags you over and offers a parking space at a location without a special-event parking sign, it is very likely a scam,” explained Inspection Service Manager Tom Kennedy in a notice to fans. For the rest of the season, inspectors in city trucks patrolled the neighborhood heavily, on the lookout for illegal parking activity. Bike cops would dart into alleyways blaring warnings over their megaphones, sending tailgating Broncos fans and residents alike scattering for cover.

“Were you selling parking?” an officer asked Bergman before a chilly Monday-night game.

“Well, I was,” he answered, “but an officer already told me it was illegal.”

“That’s right, a $1,000 fine.”

“Is there a permit I can obtain to sell spaces?”

“No. This is zoned residential. If you’re selling spaces, that constitutes a business,” the officer told him. Rather than let The Man have the last word, Bergman decided he would simply give the spaces away. He got his then-neighbor Hanson, an official Institute agent and longtime buddy from their days back in Laramie, to buy in on the concept. Initially, they stood at the mouth of the alley leading to the lot with a sign reading “Free Parking,” but they soon discovered that free was not a good selling point. “When we were selling it, parking people here was easy,” says Hanson, “It was really hard to give away free parking.”

Potential patrons were suspicious. Why would someone give away free parking? To rob their cars? When a white Chevy Tahoe finally took Bergman up on the offer, its driver insisted on making a transaction anyway, handing over four Warsteiner Imported Lagers and half a gram of homegrown. But the zoning-enforcement cops were eyeballing the deal, and the next week, as Bergman stood on the sidewalk with his little sign, a bike cop hopped the curb toward him.
“What are you selling, buddy?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Bergman said, holding up the “Free Parking” sign.

“No,” the cop said. “No, you can’t. Not even for free. It’s a special-event parking violation. You have to have a permit.”

“Actually, it’s a zoning violation to sell parking, because it constitutes the operation of a small business unpermitted in an R-3-zoned neighborhood.” Bergman replied, smug in his correctness.

“No! Uh-uh,” the officer responded, then asked Bergman where he lived.

“Up there, where I’m going to park people.”

“Go home. Go back to your apartment and watch the game on TV, or I’ll write you a citation for trespassing.”

“For standing on the sidewalk!?”

“Yes. If I let you stand out here, you’ll be flashing your sign as soon as I leave.”
Bergman balked.

“Go back to your apartment and watch the game on TV!”

Bergman finally acquiesced. But he didn’t watch the game on TV. Instead, he decided to take his concept to the next level. And what’s the logical step up from free? Pure prank.

So on the Sunday of the Broncos-Dolphins game, as the tow trucks rumble past in succession and the roar of the crowd begins to fill the sky, Bergman, surrounded by $267 worth of catalog-ordered vests, stripes and flags, waves his “NO” flag. Two women in a black Jeep Cherokee with silver rims roll up. Bergman and Hanson are waiting.

“Where’s your lot?” one of the women asks.

“There’s no parking,” Bergman says, approaching the vehicle with a friendly smile.

“Is it fifteen dollars?” she asks.

“No, you can’t park here,” he says, handing them an Institute packet.

“Well, why are you waving the flags around and stuff?”

“Oh, well, to let people know they can’t park here.”

The driver’s forehead crumples in confusion for a moment before her passenger begins to laugh at the absurdity of it. “Okay. No parking! Whoo!” The women speed away, cackling, and the no-parking attendants stand at the end of their dirty alleyway and wave their flags triumphantly.


Update 2014: the 2004 full-page Westword article, and this subsequent detailed letter to then district 1 City Councilman Rick Garcia about the strain that game-day parking and code-enforcement put on his low-income constituents, resulted in lasting change.

After a full-press enforcement of alley parking during the 2004-05 season, the 2005-06 season saw a dramatic deescalation of threats and stalking of neighborhood residents by code enforcement personnel. Ten years later, one pre-season home game into the 2014-15 season, there is still no sign of code enforcement. Neighborhood residents are routinely seen on neighborhood corners flying cardboard and sharpie signs for $20 parking and all the alley lots are full. The six car lot behind the IS home office, however, remains empty. Though being an agent of change in the ability of our neighbors to do what they will with their private property, our position remains firmly one of NO PARKING.

False Sense of Security

Monday, August 26th, 2002

GROUP SIZE: Anything from around 1,000 on up to 10,000,000 +
NATURE OF GROUP: Citizens of towns or cities who fund, through taxation, state, county, or city funded and operated skateboard parks.
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: False Sense of Security.

This report was originally printed in The Mobernist Issue #3, in 2002 by agent Cracklens for Mob in Germany

A means of creative expression.
A piece of athletic equipment.
A mode of transportation.
A potential weapon.

Three is Agents installed two signs reading “Restricted Area No Thoroughfare” (see above) at entrances to the Denver Municipal Skate Park, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A


A pastime is allowed to develop that, because of its unique combination of qualities, attracts societies most promising youth, hones their creative self expression, keeps them in peak physical condition, allows them complete freedom of movement, and arms them with clubs. Society is, in turn, allowed to continually eject the pastime participants from public and private property, cite them, arrest them, and deride them as noisy, dangerous, and destructive.

Additionally three simulated security cameras were installed. Views from each are pictured. All were removed by the city.

The Problem:

Insurance rates skyrocketed. The bottom dropped out. Commercial skate parks died. Vert disappeared. Kids took to streets and alleyways looking for a hip, ledge or backyard pool to emulate the moves of last years pros sessioning now demolished or buried parks and spent the next decade BUSTED. Constant harassment from traditional authority figures such as police, property owners, and business patrons disenfranchised skaters to such a degree that the activity assumed an outlaw aesthetic. “Good kids” soiled their image with skulls, wallet chains, and hair in the eyes. “Delinquents” looking for the next thrill naturally gravitated toward this increasingly anti-social “sport” and its promise of no uniforms, no coach, and “no fuckin’ rules dude.”

In addition to turning societies best and brightest into menaces, it drove them into the arms of societies best and brightest menaces. The tribe of wild miscreants born of this union hit the pavement laughing in the face of authority, gleefully running from cops, wantonly destroying property, fearlessly spitting on security guards, physically fighting adults of all creeds, and filming it all as a challenge to those who would dare to follow

The Solution:

Build killer public skate parks in every town. Provide a place that no local brick bank or concrete bench could hold a candle to. Make them free. Limit rules to common sense regulations like those that pertain to jungle gyms and public basketball courts. Make the rails a foot lower for the juvenile delinquents. Lure the older unreformable set with cloverleaf and capsule bowls poured of the smoothest concrete commercially available. Effectively entice a legion of problem cases to hang out in a socially sanctioned, municipally funded, centrally located, and easily monitored environment. Keep them pinned in by their own desires.

Go to the skate park in any U.S. town. Look at the old-school vert dogs. They’re whooping it up, occasionally self-medicating in the privacy of their cars, and complacently settling into routines of adulthood. The wives and Jr. come down to watch on Saturdays. Look at the new-school hip-hop skaters approaching a ledge or bar, content to repeat a sequence over and over. Their cloths are baggy yet clean. Skate brands are substituted with more affluent designer and corporate logos. Shirts are collared. Look at the little kids – the future of skateboarding. Helmets and pads all around. Mom reads a book at the end of the hip-hoppers ledge. Skaters and roller-bladers commingle.

Now, take a second look at both old and new school. Vert-dogs and hip-hoppers. Note the occasional glance toward the Downtown skyline, the frequent blank looks, long periods on the bench. Now look again at the little ones. The kids not yet in a school. They are content with their bike helmets, their alterna-mom, and their roller-blader brother. They know and follow the rules. They might as well be playing touch football! They are and will continue to be followers… Problem Solved.