Tag Archives: Bentham

Seeing things in a different light…

It’s been a while, and Jeremy is not back yet. Panopticam has probably gone for good…

However, just when I was about to start packing to return to Brazil, I received a nice message from someone who visited the blog recently, but also the news (via the Urban Lab) about a new computer game by the Bentham Project, called Panopticon Pandemonium. So, I thought it was worthy a post!

The game recreates Bentham’s prison model, the panopticon, and invites players to try the role of the prison’s governor or guard’s supervisor in keeping prisoners contained and behaving nicely, as well as maintaining the prison in order and financially healthy. Players are said to be guided by Jeremy “himself” who will give advices based on his very writings and thoughts. Here is what they say about the game:

“Based in large part on Bentham’s published works, and unpublished manuscripts being explored by volunteers for UCL’s award-winning Transcribe Bentham initiative, Panopticon Pandemonium will provide players with fresh insights into one of the most controversial aspects of Bentham’s thought”

And I will finish this brief (and probably last) post on this experimental project with the kind message I received from Chris, a mysterious visitor. In the end, I have similar feelings when I look back and think about what was supposed to be only a one-day joke. So, thanks to Chris, all other visitors who sent and didn’t send messages, and also thanks to Jeremy and the Urban Lab!

“Thanks for helping me to see things in a different light” (Chris)

Perhaps Panopticon Pandemonium’s players will also see things differently when they look into “Jeremy’s eyes” seeking advice to control their prisoners…

Panopticon Pandemonium

Panopticon Pandemonium

Where is Jeremy?

It’s been a few months and Jeremy has not opened his eyes again. So, I apologise but I was forced to discontinue this project. If and when the Panopticam gets back online, I will resume the messages to Jeremy and will keep watching the man watching me watching him…

Panopticam and Bentham asleep since February 25th.

Panopticam and Bentham asleep since February 25th.

Jeremy is blind again!

I have to be sorry. My last message was on February 23. Since then the Panopticam went offline and never came back (apart from a quick blink on the 25th with a feed on the YouTube channel).

So, as obvious as it can be, no Panopticam, no messages; no messages, no comments. There is no meaning for this project to continue if I can’t watch Jeremy watching me, watching him…

Let’s see how long his sleep will last this time!

He is alive!

Well, Panopticam is. Jeremy Bentham is still resting in peace (and in pieces) in his glass case (and some other parts of the UCL).

As we can see from the picture below, eyes of glass are open again. Anyway, it means I will be back with more messages shortly. Welcome back, Jeremy!

Jeremy's back!

Jeremy’s back!

Jeremy Bentham in a deep coma…

It looks like Jeremy can’t recover from his state of deep coma. There hasn’t been any twitter or youtube activity since last week. Unfortunately, if the Auto-Icon is in sleep mode, it means no messages from me.

I hope Panopticam comes back live again soon. I was enjoying my “conversations” with Jeremy, specially since I started to comment on the motivations and inspirations to each of the themes I was engaging with. In the end, it was a way of thinking about and divulging some important issues related to my work and personal interests.

Wake up, Jeremy!

While some have their eyes open, it seems Jeremy shut his own…

This is the first time it happens since I started “interacting” with Bentham’s Auto-Icon. When I arrived today to deliver the message, the glass case doors were shut and there was no signs indicating the reasons.

Luckily, Panopticam’s webcam stands outside, on the top of the case. So, although Jeremy’s eyes were shut by the closed doors, his cyborg electronic eyes were fully operational!

Jeremy Bentham's glass case with shut doors

Jeremy Bentham’s glass case with shut doors

“If you see something, say something” (F.B.I.)… can’t hear you Jeremy!

Another message based on Lapham’s Quarterly issue on “Spies”, this time from an ironic post on “instruction from the F.B.I.” I got ironic too!

This time I was surprised by the presence of two lovely young “collaborators”, holding a picture of me. They have been following this project and guessed the time I would appear with the message. Believe me, this was not previously arranged or staged. How cool is that?!

I wonder where did they get those hats from…

Day 55: "If you see something, say something" (F.B.I.)... can't hear you Jeremy!

Day 55: “If you see something, say something” (F.B.I.)… can’t hear you Jeremy!

“A person watched is a person transformed” (Lyan S. Parramore)

Inspiration today came from an interesting article by Lynn Stuart Parramore on the Lapham’s Quarterly, a suggestion posted on twitter by David Murakami Wood

In her text, Parramore discusses how new labour biometric tracking resembles old forms of workplace surveillance from the dawn of capitalism. He cites Jeremy Bentham (and his influential brother, Samuel Bentham) to show how the panopticon had an impact on the creation and development of Taylorism as an instrument for productivism through a better shaped and “optimised” labour force (physically and mentally). New surveillance and control bionic technologies are meant to make workers, as Parramore titles her article, “happy all the time”, and obviously more productive!

Day 54: "A person watched is a person transformed" (Lyan S. Paramore) [thanks to D.M.W.]

Day 54: “A person watched is a person transformed” (Lyan S. Paramore)
[thanks to D.M.W.]

I know, Jeremy. Watching can be a very tedious job!

Speaking of which, another reference to the same paper I mentioned a couple of posts ago, but this time about the tedious job of watchers (security personnel) in a CCTV control room. This was also reported in works by Gavin Smith here, and here.

Anyway, I’m back, happy 2016… and let not this be a tedious year!

Day 51: I know, Jeremy. Watching can be a very tedious job!

Day 51: I know, Jeremy. Watching can be a very tedious job!

Being watched while watching the watcher…

This is getting very complicated. Just when I thought there was nothing else to post here in 2015 (yes, I’ll take a break until January 4th, since the university will be closed and Jeremy will be unaccessible), I received the image below, adding more confusion to the whole watching the watchers thing (see here for more on this).

So, I guess I was being watched while I was watching Jeremy, watching me, watching him…

Merry Christmas and happy new year. “See” you in 2016, Jeremy!

Day 50: Being watched... [thanks to A.C.]

Day 50: Being watched…
[thanks to A.C.]

Jeremy, would you look at me differently if I used Tor or encrypted my emails? The NSA would…

This message was inspired by this article in the guardian: “Attempts to stay anonymous on the web will only put the NSA on your trail” (by John Naughton)

Day 44: Jeremy, would you look at me differently if I used Tor or encrypted my emails? The NSA would...

Day 44: Jeremy, would you look at me differently if I used Tor or encrypted my emails? The NSA would…

We have all become “mobile surveillance devices”, Jeremy!

We are, to the eyes of the computational and communicational systems that control most of today’s transactions, a combination of numbers and our identity (and what we do with it) is dependable on these numbers. It’s nearly impossible to “hide” from the codification as almost all the activities of our contemporary way of life are mediated by this dematerialization of people, actions, human agency, into codes in a specific system.

The network capabilities of information and communication technologies, with the possibility of having systems and devices talking to each other (IoT), and the world-wide spread use of social media, makes anyone of us a “mobile surveillance device”.

Forget about big brother, we now have little brothers. According to Zygmunt Bauman (Liquid Modernity, 2000), “Whatever else the present stage in the history of modernity is, It is also, perhaps above all, post-Panoptical”.

Day 41: We have all become "mobile surveillance devices", Jeremy!

Day 41: We have all become “mobile surveillance devices”, Jeremy!