Panopticon_Frontier 601

Opening: september 10th

Visits: February 2022, from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm; from March, from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm with previous reservation through the Museum View MUNTREF App or via email at

This project by Nora Ancarola (Buenos Aires, 1955) takes as its starting point Michel Foucault’s classic research work of the 1970s in which he formulated the archaeology of disciplinary mechanisms from the 16th to the 19th century, with focus on three institutions that structure social indoctrination in modern times: the school, the hospital and the prison. 

Foucault’s analysis of prisons, outlined in his book Discipline and Punish (1975), presents the concept of ‘panopticism’, which harks back to the Panopticon or the Inspection-House (1787) by the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, an architectural and penitentiary model of surveillance -see without being seen- regarded as the immediate antecedent of the control of contemporary public spaces.  In addition, this work looks into the so-called ‘little shack of the Germans’, a euphemism still used today for the Gestapo bunker built in the early days of the Second World War in a strategic spot in Portbou, the city where Walter Benjamin committed suicide before being deported to France by Franco’s police.  Finally, Panopticon_Frontier 601 explores the processes of border militarization and the state violence against migrants. It also addresses the penalizing archetypes generated by the media, politics and the judiciary, resulting in the sealing of borders and the persecution of those who cross them without complying with classist, segregating and racists legal frameworks.   The exhibition brings together the afore-mentioned elements in a video installation with screenings, light boxes and objects that stage the technical grammar of a visual control system, bringing into the protected environment of the museum the experience of the panopticon the testimony of those who have suffered harassment at borders, and the images and languages that make it possible to understand how surveillance works today.  Thus, Nora Ancarola creates some sort of semantic and ideological short-circuit about the meaning of the sovereignty of individuals and the right to territorial circulation, the historical mechanisms on which the disciplinary society is founded, the abuses of power and the legal protections that have turned the management of borders into a true state of migratory emergency and, most importantly, the extent to which these physical devices are still in use in the new digital panopticons.

Valentín Roma

Km: 0

Venue: MUNTREF Centro de Arte Contemporáneo y Museo de la Inmigración - Sede Hotel de Inmigrantes

Address : Av. Antártida Argentina S/N (entre Dirección Nacional de Migraciones y Buquebus)

City : Buenos Aires



Nora Ancarola (ARG-ESP)


Valentín Roma (ESP)

Curatorial axes:

Transits and Migrations



From 2021/09/10

To 2022/04/03