Ctrl [space]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother

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Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne, Peter Weibel
ZKM Center for Art and Media, 2002 - Art - 655 pages
This book investigates the state of panoptic art at a time when issues of security and civil liberties are on many people's minds. Traditional imaging and tracking systems have given way to infinitely more powerful "dataveillance" technologies, as an evolving arsenal of surrogate eyes and ears in our society shifts its focus from military to domestic space. Taking as its point of departure an architectural drawing by Jeremy Bentham that became the model for an entire social regime, CTRL [SPACE] looks at the shifting relationships between design and power, imaging and oppression, from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries.

From the photographs taken with hidden cameras by Walker Evans and Paul Strand in the early twentieth century to the appropriation of military satellite technology by Marko Peljhan a hundred years later, the works of a wide range of artists have explored the dynamics of watching and being watched. The artists whose panoptical preoccupations are featured include, among others, Sophie Calle, Diller + Scofidio, Dan Graham, Pierre Huyghe, Michael Klier, Rem Koolhaas, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Thomas Ruff, Julia Scher, Andy Warhol, and Peter Weibel. This book, along with the exhibition it accompanies, is the first state-of-the-art survey of panopticism—in digital culture, architecture, television, video, cinema, painting, photography, conceptual art, installation work, robotics, and satellite imaging.

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Ctrl [space]: rhetorics of surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother

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Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, this timely catalog of the emerging genre of surveillance art is the first to compile critical ... Read full review


Thomas Y Levin Ursula Frohne Peter Weibel Editorial
Gods Eye as ProtoSurveillance 32 Dorte Zbikowski The Listening Ear Phenomena of Acoustic Surveillance

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About the author (2002)

Thomas Y. Levin is Associate Professor of German at Princeton University where he teaches media and cultural theory. His most recent book CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother (MIT Press, 2002) is the catalogue of a major exhibition which he curated at the ZKM in Karlsruhe (Germany).

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