Type: Public event

Discussion on El Panóptico Ciego (The Blind Panopticon)

Part of the Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology, and the Carceral State webinar series


Jorge Nuñez and Courtney McClellan

Date & time

Jun 4, 2021, 12:00 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

In August of 2014 a film crew stumbled across a century-old bureaucratic archive of the main men’s prison in Quito, Ecuador. Roof-high stacks of paperwork crammed into a nineteenth-century vault. This decaying archive recorded the daily institutional life of Ecuador’s oldest penitentiary, Centro de Rehabiltacion de Varones, Numero Uno Quito (CRSVQ1); originally titled Penal Garcia Moreno after the President who oversaw its construction between 1869 and 1874. El Panóptico Ciego (Blind Panopticon) documents an extensive array of official records hoarded during 139 years of prison functioning, countless everyday items left behind by prisoners transferred without notice also became part of this archive, and the prison itself, its very materiality, came to constitute an archive of events inscribed on its walls.


  • Jorge Nuñez, co-founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Ethnography at Universidad de las Americas (UDLA-Ecuador) and screenwriter/ethnographer for El Panóptico Ciego
  • Courtney McClellan, visual artist and innovator in residence at the Library of Congress

Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology & the Carceral State

Behind Walls, Beyond Discipline: Science, Technology, and the Carceral State is a series of weekly events held virtually every Friday between May 14 and June 11, 2021 at noon Eastern. Events include a featured conversation with Keith Breckenridge, three panels that bring together international experts to discuss a single theme, and discussion of the film El Panóptico Ciego. Discussions will draw from short, pre-recorded talks which will be available to registrants two weeks before each event. Attendance at each event's webinar requires separate registration. This event is sponsored by the Ford School's Science, Technology, and Public Policy program and LSA's Science, Technology, and Society program. For more information, and a full list of co-sponsors, visit myumi.ch/stscarceral

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