How artists co-opted surveillance technology

From cameras built into walking sticks to the satellites, drones and harvesting software of the modern day, the birth of photography has enabled an age of total surveillance. How have contemporary artists responded?

In the late 18th century, the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham designed a type of institutional building and a system of control. He called it The Panopticon.

The design was supposed to be for a prison. It would allow all  inmates of an institution to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The word reflected the design – Pan – meaning ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘opticon’ meaning observation.

What would have Bentham have made of the UK today? For we now live in a virtual Panopticon.

DESIGNER

Worthing, West Sussex

INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

Frome, Somerset

SENIOR DESIGNER

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire