By Mónica Delgado

With a world premiere in Rotterdam Film Festival and a Canadian premiere in Wavelenghts, Fern’s Silva The Watchmen is a revisitation on the concept of the panoptic from its vestiges and interactions with new dispositives of social surveillance. If the Jeremy Bentham invention is recovered here from some abandoned architectural ruins, which give an idea of the failure of methods of control and power, the question of feeling surveilled and repressed by an omnipresent being seem to be a conceptual motivation that the filmmaker uses in this short film.

For Fern, there’s a first state which is a field on action of a determinate power play, and this is related with the impossibility of a free body, in the blurring of that which should be part of the intimate. This all Seeing Eye reaches fields and cities, suburbs and beaches, from prisons to recreational centers. But in a second state, Fern not only disarticulates the possibilities of these physical “panoptics” that seem to impose themselves even without wanting to (a life saver booth, for example), but also deepens inside this other intangible prisons that peek out and are described through some of the voice overs that narrate abductions or close encounters of the third type. Vigilant modality is the title.

Stateville’s prison, in Chicago, can not only be a symbol, through shots of its ruins, of the nullity of the penitentiary system in America, on its unviability or effectivity towards a future social reinsertion, but also evokes an more geographical aspect of this region, of morphologies and fleeing habitants.

To Fern Silva, this revisitation from space and territories becomes an exploration of the environment in itself, from the abandonment, solitude, past, where the 16mm film allows for the design of this atmosphere of lost time in a gigantic city that stays in a huge and strange out of field.

Wavelengths 1: Appetite for Destruction
The Watchmen
Director: Fern Silva
Producer, editor, sound designer, cinematographer: Fern Silva
USA 2017,
35 mm