Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 September 2012
Foucault is uniquely akin to contemporary film.(Deleuze 1988: 65)
It is a paradox of contemporary image consumption that exactly at the point when domestic television viewing is moving towards high definition and high resolution, audiences are moving towards arguably the most popular new media phenomenon, YouTube, which presents the lowest definition, lowest resolution images and yet attracts a larger audience among younger age groups because of its user-generated content. It is precisely the ‘low-res’ look of YouTube clips which allows us to say that the visual is problematised in this sphere, since every subject is abstracted by the rate of compression, and every clip becomes a kind of quotation, either by being sourced from previously existing material and re-presented or, in the case of original material, simply by being uploaded into a stream of pre-existing material.(Grace 2007: 470)
Judging from the regularity with which events of captivity and detention occur on the international political stage, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the theme of confinement, a hallmark of Michel Foucault's works from Madness and Civilisation (1965, 1967) and The Birth of the Clinic (1973) to Discipline and Punish (1977), has lost none of its critical relevance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Indeed, in so many ways, the post 9/11 global scene only seems a fantastical set of demonstrations of Foucault's arguments about the omnipresent and omnipotent reach of technological-cum-ideological surveillance under the guises of our neo-liberal society.