Panopticon, 2006
 


HD Video 2 min. 6 sec. B&W, colour, Beta SP Pal, DVD Dolby Digital 5.1

A building is drawn.
An angelic child seems to hover inside this enormous panoptic structure.

The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the ‘sentiment of an invisible omniscience.’ Bentham himself described the Panopticon as ‘a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.’ (source: Wikipedia)

The Panopticon has today become a metaphor relating not only to prison architecture but also to the society of surveillance. (Michel Foucault -in Discipline and Punish)

This short video was partially recorded in penitentiary facility De Berg, Arnhem  the Netherlands (koepel gevangenis), which is one of the few actually built panopticons in the world.

The soundtrack is a recording of a humming top.

Made with support of ThuisKopieFonds
thanks to:  Rijksgebouwendienst, Martina van Hummel
Penitentiaire inrichting De Berg