In modern days, people have become more aware of the idea of surveillance, and although it seems like a contemporary topic, its existence has lived across different times and cultures.
When referencing to surveillance, the Panopticon is often seen as its perfect metaphorical representation, designed by social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The Panopticon, also known as “all-seeing” in Greek, is an institutional building, designed under the concept of allowing a single watchman observes all inmates at once, without the inmates knowing that they’ve been watched.
With the assumption of prisoners always being watched by omnipotent governer, Bentham expected that this circular structure prison would ensure the prisoners’ behavior to be modified, which could further reduce partially of the expenses. The ideas of design behind Panopticon appears to be quite effective to me, since ideally, it didn’t only put convenience and reduction of costs into consideration, but also stood in a place that could improve crime rates of the society in long term.
The topic of surveillance reminds me of dashboard camera, which is extremely popular in my country, Taiwan, in recent years. Dashboard cameras are installed on vehicles, and it will record the journey till it’s turned off. Apart from acting as a safeguard from any possible accidents that could happen to ourselves, dashboard camera has become a tool to report any illegal actions on the road, such as smoking while driving, running red light, and illegal parking… etc. As more cases are being reported, people became more aware of their actions, hugely caused by the fear of being surveilled by the others.
The idea of surveillance could sometimes be seen as an invasion of privacy, and various fields of designs created under this concept has changed our society in both positive and negative ways. The existence surveillance is no doubt inevitable, however, if we take no actions with guilt, and constant be aware of our own privacy, the fear of surveilling should have no effects upon ourselves.
Dashboard Camera. (n.d.). [image] Available at: https://www.wewanted.com.tw/upload/article/20150210_19815.jpg [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
McMullan, T. (2015). What does the panopticon mean in the age of digital surveillance?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/23/panopticon-digital-surveillance-jeremy-bentham [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
Reveley, W. (n.d.). Elevation, section and plan of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon penitentiary. [image] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon#/media/File:Panopticon.jpg [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
Ucl.ac.uk. (n.d.). Panopticon. [online] Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/who/panopticon [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].