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Trevor Paglen Talks Art, Surveillance with the Guardian

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Photograph: Courtesy of Trevor Paglen

The Guardian's profile on artist and alum Trevor Paglen (MFA 2002) functions similarly to his photographs: making the invisible, plain. While Paglen identifies as a landscape artist, he does much more than his moniker suggests. On the surface, his images are about hidden spaces: secret air bases, offshore prisons, and other landmarks of empire that get left off the maps. At a deeper level, they chart a geography of politics —not surprising, coming from a man with a PhD in geography and close ties to people such as Laura Poitras, the filmmaker whose Edward Snowden documentary took home an Academy Award. (Paglen has footage of the National Security Agency in it, by the way.)

In a forthcoming project called Orbital Reflector, Paglen will launch a satellite into space. Unlike other satellites, which have served military, scientific, or commercial purposes, this one's only value will be aesthetic. The launch anticipates Paglen's retrospective at the Smithsonian in June. Read more about his process, philosophy, and current projects here.

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