Unveiling Theia

HM of Archi-Hack: Panopticon


Archi-Hack: Panopticon


Unveiling Theia: The Intriguing Tale of Panoptical Surveillance


Name: Bogdan Botoi

Instagram: bogdanbotoi

Nationality: Romanian

An intricate optical device is being developed in the 18th century structure of Bentham’s Panopticon.

A while ago, a bunch of sightseeing telescopes were installed at the windows of the deserted prison. Visitors enjoyed the sights. People found it funny to turn the panoptical prison into a panoptical tourist attraction. It was a success.

So naturally, the telescopes were slowly improved until they became so powerful that they could see anywhere in the city. Now visitors can choose to peek wherever they want. A central system of lenses and mirrors merges the images gathered by the telescopes into one detailed picture of the city.  Everyone enjoys the optical wonder of “Theia”, it is like having a magical peephole to look at whatever you want.  It is fun being there, but people report a weird feeling of being watched after they leave. Yet they can’t wait to go back. The observer knows everything while the observed barely knows anything. It’s addictive. This smart-peephole makes everybody spy on everybody, including themselves, without even realising.

Luckily for us, it is just a story of an imaginary world. 

Or is it?

Jury Comments

“Highlighting creativity and contextualized use beyond the building, compelling narrative and design expresses the entire storytelling.” -Mariela Mezalira

“this vision perfectly describes what often happens on social media today: to be seen and exist or not to be seen and not exist?” -Francesco, CAGE Architecture


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