Cultures of Surveillance: An Interdisciplinary Conference
at University College London (UCL)
Thursday 29 September, Friday 30 September, and Saturday 1 October 2011
Sponsored by The Film Studies Space, UCL; the Graduate School, UCL; and FIGS, UCL
Keynote lectures by Tom Gunning (Northwestern University) and Simon Cole (University of California, Irvine).
We are being watched. The amazing part is that we are no longer even surprised by this. The culture of surveillance increasingly surrounds us in Europe where omnipresent CCTV cameras remind us that nothing escapes the invisible gaze of those behind the lens. At UCL, we have long been surveyed by our founder, Jeremy Bentham, who sits in a wooden case in the lobby and peers from glass eyes and a wax head: his own ‘icon’ body signals that he not only knew what surveillance meant but named it through his invention of the Panopticon. That imaginary device, which Bentham proposed would “help reform morals, preserve health, invigorate industry, diffuse instruction, and lighten public burdens,” continues to be a resonant touchstone for questions about the way governments and private agencies keep watch over our interests – and theirs. This conference, held where Bentham goes on watching both literally and metaphorically, proposes to explore, broadly, the interdisciplinary frameworks for understanding modern surveillance and, particularly, how surveillance practices intersect with visual technologies and histories of culture.
For full conference programme and registration information see http://www.autopsiesgroup.com/events.html
Follow us on Twitter: @cultofsurv
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