We are living in dark times as radical religiosity the world over rises to punish ordinary, innocent, citizens in representative democracies where government-legislated values of faith are made to reform the law of the land in the name of a niche morality that presumes the best interest of the majority.
Michel Foucault is one of those certain talents where a quirky mix of genius, talent and savantism all congeal in the mind of one person to shed the powerful glow of meaning and context on the rest of us One of Foucault’s passions in life was his love of words and his research into the power of labels.
The Panopticon — a prison so built radially that a guard at a central position can see all the prisoners — is also known as the infamous and ever-vigilant Foucauldian unblinking eye of authority watching every move a prisoner makes while remaining rough and ready to strike punishment as often as needed, has come to the streets of Harlem as “Sky Watch.”
The Sky Watch, about two stories tall, consists of a booth for a cop that stands atop a tower that collapses when the officer is ready to leave. The booth, which gives the cop a line of sight from 20 feet up, has four cameras, a high-powered spotlight and various sensors. The digital cameras, which continue recording when the booth is unstaffed, save the video to a hard drive.The units, which cost from $40,000 to $100,000 apiece, are also being used by the U.S. Border Patrol and cops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas and Fort Worth. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department has leased one or two of the devices and hopes to eventually have five. Since they’re moveable, they’re more flexible than fixed cameras. One tower was installed about three weeks ago at 129th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem – drawing cheers and jeers.