MASS Gallery
507 Calles Street Suite 108
Austin, TX 78702

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.

Production Credits

Artist
Dustin Kilgore

Design and Building Supervison
Jesse Hartman

Video Direction and Installation Lighting
Rebecca Rodriguez

Video Editing and Postproduction
Matt Choi
Mike Dow

Sound Design
Erich Ragsdale

Documentation Photography
Ben Aqua
Patrick Healy

Prisoner and Guard:
Aaron Rentrope

Thanks:
Aaron Rentrope
Ben Aqua
Betsy & Bobby Ladday
Chad A.
Erich Ragsdale
Hunter Cross
Jesse Hartman
Jacob Villanueva
MASS Gallery
Matt Choi
Patrick Healy
Rebecca Rodriguez

MASS is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.