Critical Writing Index

Controlling Observation

by Harun Farocki

CTRL SPACE: rhetorics of surveillance from bentham to big brother, 2002, pp. 102-107

Karlsruhe: ZKM, 2002

In this essay Harun Farocki describes the process of making I Believed to See Prisoners (I thought I was seeing Convicts). He details the mechanisms of surveillance, the technologies of identification and objective repression from video cameras to electronic surveillance that track the movement of prisoners. Farocki describes the parallel movement of the Criminal Justice system from one of public torture and punishment, to a world with as little human contact as possible between guard and prisoner-- mediated by the controlling gaze of the video camera. He goes on to describe the simultaneous constraining and deconstraining effects of this type of observation in the metropolitan world, the implications for narrative itself, and the remaking of prison as work-house.

ITEM 2002.079 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

I believed to see prisoners (I thought I was seeing Convicts)Haroun Farocki