January on empyre soft-skinned space (you can join the list-serv discussion at http://www.subtle.net/empyre
* view archived discussion from January
Contesting the Netopticon
Moderated by Simon Biggs (UK/Australia) with invited discussants Joseph Delappe, Marc Garrett, Davin Heckman, Patrick Lichty, Heidi May, Christina Spiesel and Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead.
Dear empyre subscribers,
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) described an apparatus he termed the Panopticon, intended to condition the behaviour of subjects by disallowing them knowledge of whether they were being observed or not, causing them to fear they were. The space Bentham sought to control was the prison, seeking to replace capital punishment with a penal system focused on rehabilitation. Janet Semple’s study (Semple) evidences Bentham’s correspondence, suggesting an intent to establish for-profit penal institutions based on his Panoptic model.
George Orwell, in his novel 1984 (1949), evoked a state of perpetual government surveillance designed to crush deviation from mandated behaviour, seeking to implant the self-governing mechanism within the psyche of the
Michel Foucault employed Bentham’s conceptual framework as a motif for social order in an interpretation that has become an intellectual touchstone. In Foucault’s vision, mapped out in his seminal 1975 text “Discipline and Punish” (Foucault), the Panopticon extends far beyond the prison and manifests as a pervasive property of social space and relations, the dark matter of power relations. Continue reading
I’ve been invited to facilitate discussion on a forum this month in relation to the theme “Contesting the Netopticon” – the internet and the metaphor of panopticon. If you can think of any resources in relation to this topic, please let me know below. I am still considering the ideas I will pose for discussion (they will indeed relate to networked identity in some way, similar to ideas explored with/in Postself, but perhaps leaning more towards questions of control in relation to communication and exploration) so your contributions will be very much appreciated.
I will update you on the details once they are confirmed – it will take place between Jan 10-31 on empyre. Click here for the wikipedia description of empyre.
Basically, it is hosted by Cornell University and each month the list focuses on a distinct theme with a small number of invited respondents posting their thoughts to encourage and facilitate debate. This month’s theme will be moderated by Simon Biggs (UK/Australia) with invited discussants Alison Craighead & Jon Thompson (UK), Davin Heckman (USA), Patrick Lichty (USA), Heidi May (me!) (Can) and Christina Spiesel (USA). I am extremely honoured (and a bit nervous) to be situated amongst such highly respected individuals.
What is important to you when it comes to the internet, personal identity, surveillance, and control? What does Postself made us think about in terms of networked identity? How often do you feel watched when social networking, from someone besides the individual you are networking with? Or, has this sense of surveillance become invisible? At what moments do you think about it? At what moments do you tend to forget about it?
Please share…all ideas are welcome…I do not care about the language you use to express your thoughts…anything goes when brainstorming…
Lately this blog serves as a place for me to start some sort of articulation of ideas about art/ media projects…specifically ones that connect to larger themes I am exploring about digital art practices and pedagogy. I’m interested in how people are using technology, how they are producing things that say something about our relationships with technology. I am of the mind that we can learn from artists….that artists can reveal things that others can not see or perhaps do not realize in the same way. Within my own work I am critical of technology, yet I intentionally use the technology…hopefully addressing tensions that exist…a desire to be both with and without it and our inevitable dependency on “it”…the struggle for a harmonious relationship with “it”. I think we have to be careful of “it”…we need to be in charge of our own filters. As McLuhan stated in 1969, we need to recognize that technology is in fact an extension of the human body, an extension of ourselves. We need to see ourselves in the technology….but I’d rather we be in charge of how we go about seeing our reflection, rather than “it” being the one in charge.
I saw We Live in Public a couple of weeks ago and although I immediately knew it was a film relevant to my conceptual meanderings on this blog, I chose to let it stew in my brain for awhile before commenting. I’m still unsure what to think….so I guess I’ll just use this post to think out loud/ in public about some things…. Continue reading
Last week I attended the opening of CODE.Live at Emily Carr University Art + Design (venue 2). I also went to the CODE Dialogues, where participants discussed current art practices that incorporate digital technologies. Although I still have to check out the other CODE venues, along with so many other exhibitions going on in the city (it’s a bit overwhelming), I’ve been thinking a lot about a few of the projects on display in Vancouver right now…
Code.lab is a publicly-sited art project that asks visitors to consider the relationship between the observer and the observed. This page gives you a very brief summary of the project, but I really encourage you to visit the project website before you go down to see the project in person on Granville Island. As a writer who occasionally reviews art, I’ve been thinking about what I have to say about this piece/ work/ project/ exhibit that hasn’t already been covered by the artists themselves. How might I contribute to the understanding of this project, besides encouraging a few others to contemplate the ideas explored? One aspect I’ve been thinking about is the generation of the project and its creative process… Continue reading