Monday, 31 October 2011

Seminar 1 - Panoptcism

Panopticism relies on surveillance or at least the idea that you are always under surveillance.

Michel Foucault- Was interested in the Panopticon because it reflects our day to day lives in the modern world. Hence calling it Panopticism.

Key features of Panopticon (Jeremy Bentham 1791)
Isolation, Visibility, Surveillance, productive, Self regulation,

The power to control and exercise over people, power is a relationship, a fiction that people think they have and use over others. Power only exists because people let themselves be exploited to power.  There is a always a possibility to resist.

Institutional Gaze. For panopticism to work you need to have a constant reminder that you are being watched but knowing the subject that is watching you would twist the way you learn to reform and wouldn’t work.

Foucault calls the ideally trained human a Docile Body, somebody who wont resist, somebody who will be trained and forced to act a certain way. 

"He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection" (202-203).

The quote above can be compared to something as simple as being sat on the computers in the mac suites at college in uni, You know the technicians can see you and you can see them. There's rules to follow and JANET to stick to but the fact you're being watched puts you in a relationship where the technicians have power, purely because you feel like you're under their surveillance. Not to add to the fact they can watch you're screens.

Another college comparison could be comparing the lecture theatre to the panopticon giving the person doing the lecture a position of power. The chair's all face in the same direction, curved to centre your viewpoint, we are subjected to the lecturers field of visibility so develop a relationship where the lecturer has the power.

Lecture 2 : Technology Will Liberate Us

Technology will liberate us – Joannna Geldard 2011


Technological conditions can affect the collective consciousness.

Technology trigger important changes in cultural development.

Walter Benjamins essay ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproductions’ 1936, significantly evaluates the role of technology through photography as an instrument of change.


Draw a doodle,
Faithfully copy this
And again…
And again…

Anything that is copied or reproduced becomes something entirely different, an image in its own right or just merely an image representation of the original.

There are some artists who use this process to critically develop their work.

Machine Age; Modernism.

Walter Benjamin and mechanical reproduction

The age of technology and art.
-Parallel and specific to new developments;
a duality expressing the zeitgeist.
-Dialectical due to the coy, reproductive nature and the role of the original.
-The aura and uniqueness of art.

The camera eye is still a very big fascination because it can come from a  number of points. It comes from lots of different viewing points and perceptions, which creates the theory of originality.

dziga vertov -  man with a movie camera 1921

The camera eye has a variable gaze and Benjamin claims it has a new consciousness as a result, and represents technological progress and its faith in it.

The value of thought behind a piece of work is valued more than the work itself, technology changed this when modes of production and modes of consumption because the value of work is changed.
With photography comes the de-materialization of art and design. We don’t have to deal with an object at all.

Richard Hamilton 1922 dada. Using technology of the time to create image. Instead with photography images and objects are ordered and coded and styled.

Karl  Maex and technology

-Associated with the r term technological determinism. How technological determines economical production factors and affects social conditions.

-The relationship of technological enterprise to other aspects of human activity.

Dialectical Issues

-Technology drives history
-Technology and the division of labour
-Materialistic view of history
-Technology and Capitalism and production
-Social Alienation of people form aspects of their human nature as a result of capitalism.

Post modern Post Machine

 Many electronic works were still made with modern aesthetic.
Emergence of information and conceptual based works.
The computer a natural metaphor.
A spirit of openness to industrial techniques
Collaborations between art and science.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lecture 1 : Panopticism

Panopticism, Institutions and institutional power.

Literature, art and their respective producers do not exist independently of a complex institutional framework which authorises enables and empowers and legitimises them, this framework must be incorporated into any analysis that pretends to provide a thorough understanding of cultural goods and practices. (Randal Johnson in Walker And Chaplin 1999)
1792 – Panopticon – Building that is used for social control. Jeremy Bendon

This building has the same principles of control as our society has the same principles of control.

Michel Foucault- Died from Aids, Frenchman, 1926-1984
-Madness and civilisation, Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison.

Madness, insanity, the village idiot etc, were socially accepted and used within society for what they were. Up until the early 1600’s.

Those who couldn’t work or weren’t useful to society were shunned to one side, The great confinement, was a project working to separate criminals, the insane, the poor and unemployed, single mothers (Anyone who couldn’t be put into work) were placed in these houses of correction.

They were put to work, facing the consequence of being beaten if the work wasn’t completed. Rather than making people socially productive, the houses of correction corrupted people more.

After the houses of correction, certain other affiliations started to appear, this is when Asylums started to appear. Knowledge specialists, taking on the status of being able to stand above others and have the ability to judge people for their uses. 1700’s.

At this time all different forms of knowledge emerge, biology psychiatry, medicine etc, legitimise/support/protect these institutions. They provide backing for the shift from physical to mental control. People who acted socially unacceptable were made a public mockery of (Put in shackles etc) This was not to shock or punish you but to expose the message that if others acted in the same way they would be humiliated. To be made an example of.

Disciplinary society and disciplinary power.Discipline is a technology aimed at how to keep someone under surveillance, how to control conduct, his behaviour, his aptitudes, how to improve his performances, multiply his capacities, how to put him where he is most useful.

The Panopticon-Designed 1791
Alike to a prison, spherically shaped so that the prisoners were always backlit by sunlight when encase in their cells.

The ideal mechanism for disciplinary power. Each prisoner separated in his cell can constantly see the middle tower, so they are constantly aware that they are being watched. However they cannot see each other, the only visible thing would be the middle tower, this created the illusion that knowing that you are being constantly watched but not being able to verify this has an unusual effect on the body. It makes you behave, how you think the person watching you would want you to behave, therefore not stepping out of line.

People started to mentally control themselves, and discipline their actions, Controlling themselves rather than being controlled.

Allows scrutiny, Allows supervisor to experiment on subjects, aims to make them more productive.

-Reforms prisoners
-Helps treat patients
-helps instruct school children
-Helps confine, but also study the insane,
-Helps supervise workers.
-helps to reform beggars to work.

The Panopticon reflects on society today, for example educational and work environments imitate the same principles the panopticon used. Its about training people to act a certain way, or getting to people to train themselves in respect to discipline.

In the modern world principles of the Panopticon can be seen from institute to institute, At work an open plan office can relate to the Panopticon because it gives the boss/leader superior power over his/her workers being able to monitor their progress from day to day.

Panoptisim-The act of controlling yourself in relation to behaviour.

The fear of being caught out makes us act much more responsibly because we face the illusion that we are constantly being watched.

Relationship between power, knowledge and the body.

Power relations have an immediate hold up it (the body), they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks to perform ceremonies.  Disiplinary society produces what Foucault calls – ‘Docile Bodies.’

-Self Monitoring
-Self correcting
-Obedient Bodies

Foucault and Power

His definition is not a top-down model as with Marxism.

Power is not a thing or a capacity, people have – It is a relation between different individuals and groups, and only exists when it is being exercised.

-The exercise of power relies on there being the capacity for power to be resisted.

-Where there is power there is resistance.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

So Year Two Begins....

Year two of CTS is off to a start Below is a plan for the year;

14 Lectures - will be updated on moodle each week.
Seminars - Every other Monday.

CTS tasks will be blogged on the CTS blog.

 A 2000 word word self assigned essay.

Blog all the lecture notes and seminars.