A microcosmic re-interpretation of the Panopticon as conceptualized by Jeremy Bentham.
In 1791, Jeremy Bentham envisioned the Panopticon to be a prison designed around a central guard tower from which prisoners could be surveyed from behind venetian blinds, at any moment without their knowledge. The omnipresent threat of surveillance was designed to keep prisoners in check even when they were not being watched.
This installation, a microcosmic re-interpretation, utilizes video projec-
tions, video installations, two-way mirrors and peephole cutout paintings set within a network of corridors. One may discreetly watch others interacting with the space through the two-way mirrors or peephole paintings while potentially being spied on oneself. This situation of the watchers watching the watchers ad infinitum is reminiscent of the Panoptic
model as explored in Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
A true Panopticon prison was never actually constructed. However, many
aspects of its concept have surfaced in contemporary life thanks to surveillance technologies Bentham never could have envisioned, rendering the actual construction of a Panopticon prison superfluous.
Rather than being a literal reconstruction of Bentham’s model, this installation seeks to create a sensory environment that merges
the surveillance societies explored by both Foucault and Bentham.
It is important to note, unlike Bentham’s Panopticon, this model of the Panopticon contains no doors. You are free to leave at anytime.
Design and Building Supervison
Video Direction and Installation Lighting
Video Editing and Postproduction
Prisoner and Guard:
Betsy & Bobby Ladday