Vision and Power


Session Title:

  • General Panel Presentations

Presentation Title:

  • Vision and Power



  • There has been much discussion over the last 25 years on issues surrounding vision and power, from Foucault’s model based on Bentham’s panopticon, to Laura Mulvey’s critique of the masculine gaze in Hollywood cinema. Focusing on technologies from cinema to the computer, the discussions examine the disempowering and controlling aspects of vision, and establish clear distinctions between viewer/viewed and empowered/ disempowered. This trajectory reaches its conclusion in work of authors such as Paul Virilio and Manuel DeLanda, who locate the military industrial roots in contemporary vision technologies.
    Contemporary critical artistic practice has responded to and sought to expand these ideas in light of new relations between viewer and viewed in the contemporary electronic landscape. For example, does seeing and being seen via electronic mediation always already imply a hierarchical power relation? How do these relationships manifest themselves through technologies such as the internet, with its see you see me protocol? Does this new landscape demand new models of vision, with paradigms that address forms of erotics and display as well as power and oppression?

    These issues will be explored by each of the artists on the panel with work both informed by and also informing critical writings on vision, surveillance and technology. Each artist seeks to move beyond a simple articulation of binaries of power and vision, and in different ways uses strategies that can be seen alternatively as a coping mechanism, subversive appropriation, martyrdom, and an erotics of seeing and display.