Monday November 09, 2015

Photographer Trevor Paglen on learning to see surveillance

#176 Columbus III, NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable, Atlantic Ocean
2015, C-print, 48 x 60 in.

#176 Columbus III, NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable, Atlantic Ocean 2015, C-print, 48 x 60 in. (Trevor Paglen)

Listen 20:19

Underwater cables. Surveillance drones. Reconnaissance satellites.

California artist and geographer Trevor Paglen photographs the things we "don't understand how to see" — like the military infrastructure that quietly shapes our lives. 

Today Paglen joins guest host Tom Power to discuss the surprising beauty of troubling things, why we shouldn't trust our eyes, and how his work has changed his online behaviour. 

"The internet is quite hostile. It is preying on the fact that we are telling it our most intimate secrets." 

WEB EXTRA | Unfamiliar with Paglen's work? See a few highlights, posted here with permission of the photographer, below. 

Trevor Paglen

STSS-1 and Two Unidentified Spacecraft over Carson City (Space Tracking and Surveillance System; USA 205) C-Print 48 x 48 inches 2010 (Trevor Paglen)

Trevor Paglen

National Reconnaissance Office Ground Station (ADF-SW) Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico C-Print 38 x 48.6 inches 2012 (Trevor Paglen)

Trevor Paglen

The Salt Pit, Northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan C-print 24 x 36 inches 2006 (Trevor Paglen)