Panopticon

A surveilling installation that exposes the reality of mass of surveillance

As viewers approach the installation, their face is once again captured, this time to be matched against the collected database of facial images captured throughout the exhibition. As matching faces are retrieved they are glitched into view, confronting the viewers with their surveilled self, an image we are rarely privy to.

Panopticon is a critique and a wakeup call to the alarming prevalence of mass surveillance all around us, to how tracking and surveillance devices have become largely invisible to us and to how easily our privacy can be breached and exploited.

Mass surveillance is long prevalent and invades our lives, privacy and personal space both physically and electronically - we live in a digital panopticon devoid of consent and, in many cases, even awareness. As in Bentham’s architecture, the watchman’s all-seeing eye keeps us from misstepping and policing ourselves.

Panopticon is a surveilling installation made in two parts. The first, a connected to a network of cameras, observes visitors, captures their faces and store them in a central server. The video sculpture part of the piece is shaped as a large section of a poly sphere hung menacingly at an angle that fills the viewer's field of vision. Live security camera feeds are projected on each square surface.

Bill of Materials

Hardware

  • laser-cut modeled foam core

  • Acrylic thread

  • Apple Mac Minis

  • Logitech c920 webcams

  • LG Short-throw projector

  • DMX spotlights

Software

  • Vectorworks

  • Max/MSP

  • MadMapper

  • Adobe Premiere CC

  • Amazon AWS Rekognition

  • OpenCV

  • Python 3