Avneet Randhawa

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20202021 Forum on Choice

Avneet Randhawa

Comparative Literature and Cinema & Media Studies

CAS, 2021

Avneet Randhawa is a senior studying English with a concentration in 20th and 21st-century modernisms in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests range from film and media theory to D.H. Lawrence Studies. In her free time, you can find her rereading Virginia Woolf novels or browsing the MUBI film journal with her kitten, Tikki.

Surveillance and the Mystique of Choice: A Cinematic Exploration of Societies of Control

Unlike disciplinary societies, societies of control instill docility in its citizenry through unenclosed environments, allowing populations mobility across space and access to global markets. Within liberal democracies, private and state entities affirm that increases in positive liberties, or choices, allot individuals greater freedom. Looking to the works of documentary and essayist filmmakers Hito Steyrel and Harun Farocki, I will examine how surveillance capitalism functions by maintaining the mystique of choice. While information technologies increasingly homogenize civilian and carceral environments alike, our contemporary definitions of choice fail to grapple with discourses on control. I seek to reevaluate choice through the lens of control, offering a cinematic exploration of its successes and failures.