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Rhetorics of Surveillance
from Bentham to Big Brother

In 1785, the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832), founder of the doctrine of Utilitarianism, began working on a plan for a model prison called the panopticon. The signature feature of this design was that every one of the individual jail cells could be seen from a central observation tower which, however, remained visually inscrutable to the prisoners. Since they could thus never know for sure whether they were being watched, but had to assume that they were, the fact of actual observation was replaced by the possibility of being watched. As a rationalist, Bentham assumed that this would lead the delinquents to refrain from misbehaving, since in order to avoid punishment, they would effectively internalize the disciplinary gaze. Indeed, Bentham considered the panoptic arrangement, whereby power operates by means of the spatial design itself, as a real contribution to the education of man, in the spirit of the Enlightenment.

 Interview with curator Thomas Y. Levin [in German]

 Webcams as part of the exhibition space  -------

 follow the ongoing exhibition via the webcams
 mounted in both lightyards


Diese Seite auf Deutsch

V i s i t o r s  I n f o r m a t i o n
Opening hours

Wednesday 11 am - 10 pm
Thursday through Sunday 11 am - 6 pm

G u i d e d   T o u r s
Guided tours through the exhibition
Guided group tours
Public guided tours
Individual or family tors

Information and booking

[phone]: ++49-[0]721-8100-1990
Mon - Fri 9 am - 1 pm, Tue 2 - 4 pm

[fax]: ++49-[0]721-8100-1999


      01. Vito Acconci
      02. Merry Alpern
      03. Lutz Bacher
      04. Lewis Baltz
      05. Denis Beaubois
      06. Jeremy Bentham
      07. Niels Bonde
      08. Bureau of Inverse Technology
      09. Paul Bush
      10. Sophie Calle
      11. Jordan Crandall
      12. Peter Cornwell
      13. Jonas Dahlberg
      14. David Deutsch
      15. Bart Dijkman
      16. Diller + Scofidio
      17. Harun Farocki
      18. Dan Graham
      19. Graft
      20. G.R.A.M.
      21. Jeff Guess
      22. Harco Haagsma
      23. Jon Haddock
      24. Institute for Applied Autonomy
      25. Jürgen Klauke
      26. Michael Klier
      27. A.P. Komen & Karen Murphy
      28. Rem Koolhaas/OMA
      29. Korpys/Löffler
      30. Laura Kurgan
      31. Langlands & Bell
      32. Ange Leccia
      33. Chip Lord
      34. Jenny Marketou
      35. Jürgen Mayer H.
      36. Michaela Melián
      37. Dan Mihaltianu
      38. Heiner Mühlenbrock
      39. Pat Naldi & Wendy Kirkup
      40. John Lennon/Yoko Ono
      41. Bruce Nauman
      42. Chris Petit
      43. Walid Ra'ad
      44. Daniel Roth
      45. Thomas Ruff
      46. Julia Scher
      47. Cornelia Schleime
      48. Ann-Sofi Sidén
      49. Lewis Stein
      50. Stih & Schnock
      51. Surveillance Camera Players
      52. Frank Thiel
      53. Zoran Todorovic
      54. visomat inc.
      55. Jamie Wagg
      56. Andy Warhol
      57. Peter Weibel
      59. NYC Surveillance Camera Project
      Further Exhibits
      From the archive
       of the Staatssicherheitsdienst
       of the former GDR
      Reality TV


This page was last updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2001 at 12:33:01 PM
Copyright 2001 ZKM | Karlsruhe