The Digital Panopticon

An inventory of Mediums


AUTHOR: Jey Alonso
PLACE: Madrid, Spain
YEAR: 2016
STATUS: Unbuilt


Nowadays, we live in a city as a group of known strangers. A “Digital Panopticon” in which the use of WhatsApp, Facebook and other media has grown exponentially and is seen as a projection of our self. It has succeeded in a digital alter ego or ego with which we have the possibility to create and manipulate.

Theatrum Mundi reappears, moreover, it never left. Society is like a theatre; humans are and function as puppets. Internet is “reality” and the media work as the “mask” and endow us with a ‘digital dermis’ in addition to a greater impersonality due to the indiscriminate data information. Reality has become a kind of fuzzy and blurry photography based on hyper-precise algorithms: analogue me vs digital me.

Guy Debord says: “Until the realm of necessity remains a social dream, dreaming will remain a social necessity. The show is the bad dream of modem society in chains, expressing nothing more than its wish for sleep. The show is the guardian of that sleep.”

Individuality has moved to the background and it has become an appendage, a mechanism of a set that is the mass.

Memory was important in pre-literacy. Then, the advent of the press gives the way to a type of complex. And now, internet and the media modify the medium again; the absolute lack of complex thoughts in this medium causes an extreme response speed and hence a loss of attention. “The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” said Wittgenstein, and paraphrasing him: “The limits of my medium are the limits of my language”.

The origin of this project is this spectacular world and the indiscriminate information all over the media. The Digital Panopticon wants to suggest an image about the images-curiosity from the Big Brother of Orwell until the social media such as YouTube.

The program talks about the world of creation, sale, modification, promotion and recording of the image, so it is organized by television sets, radio studios, photography studios, outdoor simulation, black boxes, chrome rooms, recording rooms, anechoic rooms, panorama rooms, video production areas, audio, promotional places, and large spaces for events. Therefore, the building contains many multimedia programs that covers many users. The inexperienced user called “youtuber” will be able to record in offered spaces.

In the building-water contact, there is a public-private relationship with the environment, on one hand there is an outdoor and private television set on the water’s surface which consists of the layout of a zigzag obstacle course that the contestants must overcome, and on the other hand, the tv set is surrounded by the new artificial lakes situated at the border of the Manzanares’ river. This lakes functions as a water public park of boats. Thus, boats’ users and contestants coexist in the same surface.




Jey Alonso studied architecture in Madrid, Spain and he did his master’s specialization in Architecture and advanced projects. Then, he moved to Aalborg, Denmark where he studied a two years master in Mobilities and Urban design. His work is focused in the betweenness of the theoretical and the practical architectural world. He believes in a strong theoretical concepts in order to create the concept design. He also think architecture as a message and as a medium of messages.

His interests are architecture, art, mobilities, the virtual, the social network impact, the technological utopias and distopias, photography and the research.


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