Monday, October 15, 2007


Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon is pictured here. The plan consists of a ring of cells built around a central tower from which all the cells can be seen. Foucault writes, "They are like so many small cages, so many small theaters, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible." Visibility, as Meghan noted in class, makes one take responsibility for their own subjection.
He who is subjected to the field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play simultaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection. Discipline and Punish 202
This assembly is a dance technology. On April 28th and 29th 2007 Martha Williams directed and performed in a dance installation entitled Stacked, converting an out of business clothing store into a surveillance menagerie. Each dancer took residence in one of a dozen changing rooms which they themed and designed the interiors of. In the main room camera feeds from each room were composed and projected so that all of the dances could be seen at once.

The geometry of the panoptic (one seeing many) inverts that of spectacle (many seeing one). For example, compare the structure of the Panopticon to that of the Globe Theater.
Lets investigate how architectures of performance and surveillance resonate against each other.

In each system:
  1. what travels/flows from the center to the periphery?
  2. what travels/flows from the periphery to the center?
  3. how does visibilty/invisibility effect each of these flows?
In general:
  1. identify a contemporary structure or phenomenon with panoptic features
  2. find another way to structurally or functionally invert the panopticon
  3. find another way to structurally or functionally invert the theater/arena
Remember to be thoughtful in your response. You never know who is watching our blog.

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