Trevor Paglen has made a name for himself documenting the unknown – or, at least, that which secretive governmental entities and their covert counterparts would like to keep hidden from us. And yet, in the blurred images of black-ops installations, surveillance and testing sites, or grainy pictures of Predator drones in-flight, Paglen is concerned less with provoking the shadowy forces out there than in rousing the ones within his audience. Indeed, whether documenting CIA-run rendition safe-houses in Afghanistan or, as with his most recent project, The Last Pictures – which included launching a satellite carrying a gold-plated disc micro-etched with 100 images – Paglen question the human motivations and assumptions that underlie attitudes towards visibility and perception. 

With an exhibition documenting much of what went into making The Last Pictures winding down at New York’s Metro Gallery, Hotshoe spoke with the artist to discuss future projects, the specter of government surveillance, and the

This article appeared in 183 on April 2013. Buy here

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