Sights/Sites of Surveillance: Architecture and Mise-en-Scène in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Skyfall

in Architecture and Control

Working within the framework of a hypothesised shift between Michel Foucault’s model of discipline and Gilles Deleuze’s paradigm of the control society, this contribution considers the cinematic articulation of surveillance practices through the representation of surveillance societies. Within this, it investigates the ways in which theories of surveillance and images/imaginings of surveillance are fundamentally shaped around notions of architecture. These include not only objects within the physical world but also considerations at the level of metaphor that attempt to conceptualise the complexities of monitoring. In the move towards the control societies as put forward by Deleuze, the once-solid structures associated with Foucault’s disciplinary model are steadily eroded. Yet, as with all forms of erosion, material traces are left behind. These models will help us to identify the ways in which two films – Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy from 2011 and Sam Mendes’s 2012 release, Skyfall – respond to the dominant patterns of observation in the surveillance societies they represent by reasserting the often overlooked importance of mise-en-scène.

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