Technological tattoos and the “Superpanopticon” body
Organização:  TU Delft
09 / 07 / 2024

Abstract: In “Post-Scriptum on Control Societies”, Deleuze analyses the shift from the disciplinary to control society by the emergence of a diffuse world-capitalism aligned with digital devices able to control individuals in their personal activities and consumption habits. In disciplinary societies as described by Foucault, all activities were framed in specific architectonic buildings where individuals were fixed in space and time. In control societies, Deleuze stresses that “the subject of control is undulating, in orbit, in a continuous network. Everywhere surfing has already replaced the old sports” (Pourparlers). No matter where and when, individuals are surfing in a global web. The body becomes part of an infinite database of power structures which, through digital devices, have a total command of the individual’s life.
Now, in my talk I will analyse the technological tattoo that is being developed by several research centres worldwide. These tech-tattoos intensify the digital mode of subjectivation of control societies as they turn the body into a control device in itself. The aim of my talk is to understand how tech-tattoo is a radical example of the body’s digitalization and biopolitical power. Rather than Bentham’s physically limited model of the Panopticon, tech-tattoo actualizes Bentham’s dream of a diffuse matrix of information gathering algorithms about the individuals’ body and biochemistry all the time and everywhere. Tech-tattoo takes the panoptic control regime into another level of accuracy and immanence. The “Panopticon” becomes what I suggest naming as “Superpanopticon”: subtle, invisible, intimate. Tech-tattoo belongs to this new paradigm of an immanent Panopticon, the one that operates from inside the body. Disciplinary regime had a limit: the body’s insurmountable opacity. With tech-tattoo, control is now done by the body itself as the most radical bio political device.

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