Posted by: Liesbet van Zoonen
Something smart going on: the apocalyptic aesthetics of surveillance
Associate lecturer, School of Journalism and CreativeWriting, University of Wollongong
This paper analyses surveillance as an integral element in contemporary discourses of the apocalyptic. It outlines a model of the apocalyptic that has its roots in the western religious tradition particularly the last book of the Christian bible: The Book of revelation. It explores the intersecting narratives of surveillance, the apocalyptic and the forensic as a way of contextualising contemporary political, pop cultural and technological events. Each of these narratives play themselves out through a dialectical logic: surveillance is seen as bringing both intrusion and protection; the apocalypse is harbinger of both destruction and a new world; while the forensic revels in both discovery and horror. Each of these narratives is related to a search for meaning and authenticity and each is expressed through a broad range of multimodal contemporary mythic structures in news, film, television and politics.