Panoptic

Video, 4’ 24’’

Project carried out for the publication CAPS.A. 11 in prison

Intervention in the prison of Mataró, 2011

Video edited with the collaboration of Can Xalant, Centre de Creació i Pensament Contemporani de Mataró.

 

Panoptic adj. Showing or seeing the whole at one view.

Device designed by the English thinker Jeremy Bentham in 1791. The panoptic enables the guard to see (-opticon) all (pan-) the prisoners without knowing if they are being watched or not.

French philosopher Michel Foucault thoroughly analyzed the concept of panoptic –the eye that sees all – in his work published in 1975 entitled Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (Watch and punish: The birth of prisons).

…Bentham raised the issues in terms of power: the population as the target of the relationships of domination. (…) One look is enough. A glance that controls, and which each, feeling its burden, ends up interiorizing to the extent of watching oneself…

Mataró prison (Elies Rogent, 1858). This was the first prison built in Spain according to the panoptic system.

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