2019 Interim Show

Disintegration, 2019, Video, 00:02:44

I made a video that stemmed from my interest in Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon. Talking on Bentham’s panopticon, Foucault discusses the light that illuminates the cells, which holds the occupants’ captive; “…one can observe from the tower, …the small captive shadow…They are like so many cages, so many theatres, in which each actor is alone….and constantly visible.” (Foucault, 1975:200). The use of light in this way is a tool, one which enables one-way communication. This is the key element of the panopticon’s knowledge-power dynamic. “Visibility is a trap. He is seen, but does not see; he is the object of information, never a subject in communication.” (Foucault, 1975:200). I used hands as the subject matter to represent people and their actions. I wanted to highlight this in a technological sense and thought about the fortune five technology companies that collect data on people through technology, particularly smart phones that expand into every facet of people’s existence, “…because ones friendship and ones bank account can now be managed through identical mechanic operations and gestures…” (Crary, 2014:59). I started by experimenting with shadows and silhouettes in the video below, “The Line; Absence and Action.” I was interested in the absence of visual information in the blackness of the silhouettes, how the black void represents the person, yet they themselves are unimportant, only their actions count as important to the ‘authority’ in the panopticon. I used an overhead projector to create shadows and recorded the shadows on the wall; however, I felt a light box placed directly in front of the camera lens on a tripod worked best. This allowed me to get darker blacks and whiter whites. It was also more relevant being that my hands were silhouettes, rather than shadows. The shadows quickly became important as an aftermath of information. A duplication of distorted infomation. These were just as important in creating patterns of movement. Did it matter if there was a person in the void or not? It felt important to encourage the audience to think about the person behind the technology and the level of detail surveillance technology can attain. I think I achieved this in the editing process. I divided the screen up into many units of information to give the audience visual feedback on a group of people. I then decided to zoom into a single unit, in a manner that communicated mechanical movement and surveillance. I specifically had CCTV in mind when creating this. I then decided to break this down further by showing the amount of seemingly unimportant information by zooming right down to the pixels. I zoomed in so far that the screen ended up flashing white, black or with grey interference.

The Line; Absence and Action, 2019, Video, 00:01:50