Image Spaces of Formal Manipulation

d3 publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
d3:dialog: international journal of architecture + design, 2012, 1 (1), pp. 44 - 58
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The pervasiveness of CCTV systems throughout contemporary urban environments is merely the latest mechanism by which civil authorities attempt to control the spatial complexity of the city. Responding to an inability to observe illicit activity from a single vantage point, the distributed CCTV network acts as an important mechanism of socia l surveillance. Consequently, the scopic regime of the C(TV not only registers the anxiety of the dominant social power structures concern ing public space, it also reinforces an ongoing historical relationship with the occupation and control of the landscape. The significant difference between these systems and Jeremy Bentham's panopticon is that the technological transportability of the image allows captured 'content' to re-enter the public domain rather than remain the property of a privileged minority. The interactive and remote nature of these systems, when coupled with their digital conversion and transmission through a third party digital interface, the internet, delivers the very mechanism of control back into the hands of those who are surveyed.
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