Jeremy Bentham auto-icon
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Visit the Jeremy Bentham auto-icon

Jeremy Bentham sits at the end of the South Cloisters on campus. He is usually woken up around 8am, and put to sleep at 6pm, Monday – Friday. Special out of hours viewings can be arranged.

Please Note: We are currently taking part in an exciting project with UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and the Bentham Project

The Panopticam Project consists of a webcam placed on top of the auto-icons box which takes a photo every 5 seconds, in an effort to get a view of the world similar to that currently enjoyed by Jeremy Bentham. The photos are posted on the Panopticam webpages, and a time lapse video is made of all the images together at the end of each day. This is then posted onto YouTube, as well as the page linked to above.

Between 08:00 and 17:00 each day a photo is also released on twitter at 1 minute past the hour, from the account @PanoptiStream.

Raising issues of the surveillance state, online observation, digital scrutiny, and the routine recording of public spaces, the PanoptiCam is a tongue in cheek comment on Bentham’s ideas of his Panopticon “inspection house”. However, this also has a genuine research element, and will be used to test algorithms to count visitor numbers to museum exhibit cases using low cost webcam solutions. 

All visitors should be aware that if they visit the auto-icon they are very likely to be photographed by the webcam. If you would like to join in the conversation around this project please email me using the address below, or tweet your thoughts to @Panopticam.

Please contact nicholas.booth@ucl.ac.uk for further details.