Alan N. Shapiro, Visiting Professor in Transdisciplinary Design, Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Germany

Blog and project archive about transdisciplinary design, media theory and creative coding

Announcing “The Prisoner Con” in Seattle, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017


What better way to celebrate the society of simulation, surveillance, information and the global village than to attend the 50th anniversary fan convention of the iconic late 1960s BBC television series “The Prisoner”…

Registration now open…

September 29 – October 1, 2017

Seattle, Washington, the state that voted for Faith Spotted Eagle


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2 Responses

Elsewhere here you wrote of Donald Trump as “the endless present” to be hyper-modern. Alain Carazé and Hélène Oswald, on the other hand, wrote in their landmark book “The Prisoner. A Televisionary Masterpiece” about the Village (i.e. the universe, in some respect) and everything that happens in it would “seem to take place in an eternal present and to tell an uncompromising cyclical story.” Would that mean parallelising both? Is it only something phenotypical? Is Trump the the ‘Beast from 20000 Fathoms’ the recurrence of the suppressed? Was The Prisoner prophetic?

  • I would say yes. “The Prisoner” is certainly postmodern, and it is closely related to McLuhan’s ideas of the global village in the 1960s, the information society, Foucault’s surveillance society, and Baudrillard’s simulation. It anticipates very much a later film like “The Truman Show” and could therefore be considered hypermodern, with Reality TV, with everyone in the Village save yourself being an actor, and with not knowing who is Number One. That’s a nice similarity of Trump to “The Prisoner,” as you have said before, Trump seems more like a Number Two. Certainly the episode “Free For All” (“The Prisoner”) seems like an uncanny premonition of the 2016 Trump-Clinton election campaign. And the suspicions surrounding Trump’s relationship to Russia — “Whose side are you on?” “That would be telling…”

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