Regardless of where we walk or where we stand, we’re being watched. In a society in which public space is primarily associated by governments as a space of risk, nearly everything depends on constant surveillance. The most banal of activities, such as eating a sandwich or carrying a suitcase, when performed in inner cities of the developed world, are filmed and decoded by automated systems.
The fact that security and risk prevention now represent ‘political superglue’ prompted Michael Palm to reflect on the implications of the growing mechanisation of perception, in both the public space and the field of medicine. The method Palm chose for his film is repeatedly expanding upon a theory in fragments by means of unreal, grainy images of everyday scenes.
From off-screen, scientists and intellectuals from a wide variety of disciplines, neurology to media sciences to theology, can be heard discussing the question of what’s appearing on history’s horizon, which is a result of increasing panopticism and the disappearance of the assumption of innocence in contemporary society: a complete ‘evacuation of the real’ and loss of the ‘idea of naturalism.’
Low Definition Control is science fiction in a literal sense. The film presents a visionary anticipation of biopolitical/governmental processes that began some time ago, in which technology is so deeply inscribed into human behaviour that a disciplinary and control society could at some point be replaced by one comprising subjects both disembodied and ultimately algorithmically predictable.
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