Friday, March 19, 2010

Go to jail-- fri 11am section w/ Matt

This week’s visit to the cave was amazing in the sheer wonder of it, but also in a way that it made me think about the theory we have been reading, and also about the human race’s use of technology as a whole. First of all, it is amazing how much effort and time we put into this aspect of escape: so much technology crammed into that little space, just to experience something “virtual.” We could simply go outside and feel a greater sentiment of escape. This entirely goes along with all of the notions of imprisonment due to technology, discussed by theorists such as Foucault. The screens have grown to be entire wall-sized, and now we are imprisoned by those screens. They decide, essentially, where we go and what we do. This actually ties in with a notion in the novel Fahrenheit 451, in which the main character’s wife spends most of her time in a room in which 3 of the walls are screens and she considers the people in the screens (on the television shows) to be her family. The technological imprisonment by the wall-screens (as are featured in the CAVE) is uncanny.
This week, we discussed another manner of imprisoning someone, which actually ties in better with modern-day technology: the Panopticon. Foucault’s discussion of the new-age prison lines up with how surveillance works today over the Internet. We know we are being watched, but we don’t know from where. Someone out there is looking in this window that we technically can’t look out of. “They” write everything down, keep it digitally in a database to form a profile of all users. This idea works for the Panopticon, but is also the groundwork for our widespread surveillance. It is interesting how these things line up, the fact that a prison’s protocols can be applied to the Internet. Just as Foucault ends his essay- things that are set up as prisons: schools, factories, barracks, hospitals….now the Internet?

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