Browsing articles tagged with " Jeremy Bentham"
Apr 9, 2019
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Jim and I (2019)

Office-landscape-plan

My bank went through a rejuvenation treatment also known as a ‘renovation.’ The contractors worked mostly at night and then, the bank closed altogether for a few days. When it came back into the physical world, it was as an open-concept entity.

As far as transformation goes, this was an important re-emergence. The bank is more spacious and brighter, with little restaurant-booths-like stations on the side. I like to think that customers could sit there to dream of cheesecakes and other delights. The only thing missing, it seems, is a Ping-Pong table. But as I waited in line, yes there is still a queue area – a difficult concept to fathom in an open-plan design, I started to think of how strange the whole thing is. What is this openness all about? Is the bank really open, or does it just feel open?

Banks have always thrived on the idea of privacy, of cubicles, of safety deposit boxes and even if the appearance of the bank happens to change, the invisible walls are probably as thick now as they were before. It probably boils down to simple economics; fewer wall surfaces and less maintenance might translate into more profits. All of the above advantages come into play without mention of the fact that an open banking surface becomes easier to monitor. In fact, my bank’s openness might be closer to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon than to Frank Lloyd Wright’s pioneering open-plan designs, which “represented the promise of a new social ideal […] that would […] allow egalitarian integration”.[1]

But now, why would a bank – not the most benevolent entity in the world – care about egalitarian integration? I think that by opting for an open-plan layout, my bank was hoping for a magical, sympathetic effect; that seeing the openness of the space; we could automatically assign these perceptions to the bank itself. In short, that we could believe that the bank is as open, generous and honest as the space it occupies.

So here it is, my new bank, based on the foundation of my old bank. A wolf dressed up as a grandmother has opened its doors to welcome me, to do business with me. I wait in a line that is as long as the one before. Then, I notice a smiling clerk getting up and walking toward me. “Hi, I’m Jim, how can I help you today.” It is nice of him to say that, but there is something artificial about our first contact, something uncomfortable. The script will be restated over and over in the coming weeks, months and years. No doubt, it will come to sound more natural. Meanwhile, Jim and I walk to his workstation where he opens his computer. I stand on the side, almost like being in a pub. As I enter my passcode, I realize that it signals the end of all openness. Night has suddenly fallen; the bright sunshine of my bank is no more. We are now moving in a closed-floor-plan, a world of encryption, firewalls and privacy screens.

[1] The Curse of an Open Floor Plan, The Atlantic, Ian Bogost, May 17, 2018
https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/05/the-curse-of-an-open-floor-plan/560561/

Feb 16, 2017
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269th anniversary of Jeremy Bentham’s birth (2017)

jeremy-bentham

Today is the 269th anniversary of Jeremy Bentham’s birth. And I wonder why Google did not create a Google-Doodle for the founder of modern utilitarianism.

In his studies of English law, he realized early on that it was not “what it was said to be; neither was it what it ought to be.” In the 1770s he described his despair and resolution:

“… I entered upon the task. I had been taught to believe both in print and in conversation that it is in [its] . . . several parts as beneficial to the people as the whole together is profitable to those who study it as a profession: that it is as near to perfection as any thing can be that is human; that if it has any imperfections, they are like spots in the sun, absorbed in the splendour of superior beauties. As I advanced every page I read seemed to furnish an exception to those general rules; till at last I began to be almost at a loss to conjecture upon what particular observations could have given occasion to these magnificent positions.

… I saw crimes of the most pernicious nature pass unheeded by the law: acts of no importance put in point of punishment upon a level with the most baneful crimes: punishments inflicted without measure and without choice: satisfaction denied for the most crying injuries: the doors of justice barred against a great majority of the people by the weight of wanton and unnecessary expense: false conclusions ensured in most questions of fact by hasty and inconsistent rules of evidence: light shut out from every question of fact by fantastic and ill consider’d rules of evidence: the business of hours spun out into years: impunity extended to acknowledged guilt and compensation snatched out of the hands of injured innocence by . . . impertinent & inscrutable exemption: the measure of decision in many cases unformed: in others locked up and made the object of a monopoly: the various rights and duties of the various classes of mankind jumbled together into one immense and unsorted heap: men ruined for not knowing what they are neither enabled nor permitted even to learn: and the whole fabric of jurisprudence a labyrinth without a clew. These were some of the abominations which presented themselves to my view . . . From the view … I confess resulted a passionate desire of seeing them done away.”

Jeremy Bentham : an odyssey of ideas
by Mack, Mary Peter
Published 1963

Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Everglades, coécrit avec Valerie LeBlanc, vient de paraître aux Éditions Prise de parole.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico and Australia. His tenth book of poetry, co-written with Valerie LeBlanc, Everglades has just been published by Les Éditions Prise de parole.

Everglades
À partir de leur exploration du parc national des Everglades, Daniel H. Dugas et Valerie LeBlanc cartographient dans cet essai poétique les effets de la présence humaine sur le milieu naturel, les traces qu’elle y dépose. Everglades est une ode à la beauté, à la fragilité et à la résilience d’une nature aux prises avec une espèce envahissante, la nôtre.

Everglades
Through their exploration of the Everglades National Park, Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc document, in this poetic collection, the effects of human presence in the natural world and the traces left behind. Everglades is an ode to the beauty, the fragility and the resilience of nature faced with the invasiveness of a particular species, ours.

Date : Mars 2018
Genre : Poésie
Collection : Poésie
ISBN : 9782897441029
Français/English

Éditions Prise de parole

http://www.prisedeparole.ca/auteurs/?id=1148

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