Panoptic Pranksters: Power, Space and Visibility in the Information Panopticon in Scare Campaign

Elloit Cardozo

Abstract


Foucault, in his seminal work Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) discusses Bentham’s architectural design of the Panopticon as a means to exercise power and enforce discipline. He extends this metaphor to speak of Panopticism as a social phenomenon used to discipline work forces through covert strategies. Shoshana Zuboff, in In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (1988) contextualizes Foucault’s discussion in an age where the work culture uses Information Systems extensively for surveillance. She calls such a structure an “Information Panopticon”.  This paper aims to bring out the various nuances of the Information Panopticon in Cameron and Colin Cairnes’ film Scare Campaign (2016) and how it facilitates the exercise of power. The paper firstly looks at Zuboff’s Information Panopticon in light of Foucault’s discussion before evaluating the Information Panopticon created in the film and its hierarchal structure. Next it endeavours to demonstrate how the Information Panopticon in the film is not solely reliant on literal visibility. It wraps up with a discussion on the relation between spatiality, visibility and power in the film’s Information Panopticon.


Keywords


Information Panopticon, Power, Visibility, Space.

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References


Foucault, Michel. 1995. “Panopticism.” In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. 1st arg. New York: Vintage Books.

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Koskela, Hille. 2003. "‘Cam Era’ – the contemporary urban Panopticon". Surveillance & Society 1 (3): 292-313. http://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/article/view/3342.

McMullan, Thomas. 2015. "What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/23/panopticon-digital-surveillance-jeremy-bentham.

Ezez. 2016. Scare Campaign. Video. Australia: Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes, Bonsai Films.

Simon, Bart. 2005. "The Return of Panopticism: Supervision, Subjection and the New Surveillance". Surveillance and Society 3 (1): 1-20. http://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/article/view/3317.

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Zuboff, Shoshana. 1988. “The Information Panopticon.” In In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power. 1st arg. New York: Basic Books.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cinej.2017.174

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