SAIC alum Trevor Paglen (MFA 2002) is the focus of a recent New York Times article. In it, the artist discusses his past work in association with surveillance—most notably his photographs of classified military installations—and plans for a future project to take place in space. As an outspoken critic, Paglen has lectured on the ways in which secrecy “nourishes the worst excesses of power” and his footage of NSA bases was included in Citizenfour, a 2014 documentary on Edward Snowden.
Now, Paglen is working on what could be the world’s first space sculpture, a satellite launched into low orbit and visible from Earth, which he calls the Orbital Reflector. Of the project he says, “It began as a thought experiment in which we imagined that spaceflight is the opposite of what it actually is. We imagine going to the moon and planting a flag, going to an asteroid and mining, going to Mars and setting up a colony. And I think that expansionist mentality is very self-destructive, especially given the kind of precarious relationship we now have to the ecosystem here on Earth, because it allows us to imagine that Earth is disposable.”
Read more about Paglen's work and his upcoming 2018 Smithsonian exhibit at the New York Times.