my script for my dvd

the script for my dvd presentation….

Cameras and videos have been around to record and watch people for many years. Surveillance of people using cctv is particularly common in the uk, where there are reportedly more cameras per person than in any other country. There is an estimate of around 1.5 million cctv cameras in the uk today. With the amount of cameras, cctv, google maps and general surveillance it is highly likely for any individual to be caught on some type of filming device everyday in the uk.

In the chapter entitled panopticism in MIchael Foucault book “discipline and punishment” he talks metaphorically about the way we are controlled by authority because of surveillance. In theory panopticism is a circular building with cells all around it with a tower where the prisoners are being watched. In the text Foucault points out that the prisoners can see the tower at all times and knows he is being watched. Just as you know you are being watched when you see a cctv camera, promting the question of does your attitude change when you know that someone is watching you. However this also brings you onto the subject of mass observation. That one cctv camera you saw probably captures up to more than a 1000 people per day alone. There have been many photographers who have done projects on mass observation. However the main one i know of was done by Andreas Gurskey.

Andreas Gurskey is a german visual artist who is well known for producing large scale colour photographs which are distinctive because of there critical look at the effect of capitalism and mass observation. He takes photographs of large groups of people in one space at a time. Like cctv cameras do he shoots from a high angle so he is looking down on the subject he is shooting creating a sense of authority and power in his photographs.

Anouther photographer i well known for mass observation photographs is Edward Burtnysky who is a well known photographer  from Canada. He is well known for his large scale photographs showing industrial landscapes. Just like andreas Gurskey he shoots from a high angle looking down on the thing he is shooting.

However its not just photographers who use technology to record and observe people. THere are many programs on t that observe how people interact in certain situations such as “im a celebrity get me out of here”, “celebrity love island” and the most well known “big brother”. These programs show how people interact and act between themselves when they know they are being watched. Which makes you ask do people attitudes and reactions really change when they know they are being watched? Because in Michael Foucault’s text he expresses that just because people think they are being watched they automatically change there behaviour and behave, even when they may not be observed at all.

Overall camera and video technology play a big part in todays society, observing how people react, entertaining people and helping keep law and order. But has it gone too far, has it invaded on peoples privacy or is it like Michael Foucault’s text states to keep crime down and controlling people by scaring them. As he states ” power should be visible but unverifiable”


~ by hmsteel on March 15, 2011.

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