Trevor Paglen

Artist lecture Friday, March 16, 2018 7PM
Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4), 2013.

Trevor Paglen’s work encompasses image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. He has been described as “an experimental geographer and photographer, whose work blurs the lines between science, journalism and art.” In short, his work defies categorization. He has spent much of the last decade researching, documenting and writing about “dark spots on the map”—spaces concealed by state and military classification. An area of recurring interest for Paglen is learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures.

Paglen developed a method of “limit telephotography,” which uses high-power telescopes in combination with cameras, to photograph secret prisons and military bases. In an ongoing body of photographs known collectively as The Other Night Sky, Paglen works with amateur astronomers to document classified satellites that orbit the earth. The mysterious images of the physical manifestations of military power hover between abstraction and information, between the inscrutable and the mundane. They are at once compelling as visual compositions and chilling as photographic documentation of activities that are otherwise based on speculation. More recently, Paglen has explored the ocean floor to make photographs of underwater fiber optic cables that circle the Earth and enable internet connection and developed tools to show what artificial intelligence networks and other autonomous surveillance systems “see” when they look at the world.

Some of his other projects include: launching an artwork into distant orbit around Earth (in collaboration with Creative Time and MIT), working on the Academy Award-winning film Citizenfour, and creating a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.

Paglen lives and works between Berlin, New York, and Berkeley. He received his BA and PhD from University of California, Berkeley and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of many books and articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality. He has received numerous awards, including a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and the 2016 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. He has exhibited widely, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Berkeley Art Museum; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate Modern, London; Kunsthall Oslo; and Kunsthalle Giessen, Germany. Later this year, his mid-career survey exhibition Sights Unseen will open at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. and he plans to launch an artwork into outer space (Orbital Reflector) with the Nevada Museum of Art.

Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.

Larry Sultan Photography Award

Jonathan Calm, Double Vision (Recording I), 2018

Jonathan Calm

Fall 2019 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

Jonathan Calm is a visual artist who works in photography, video, installation, and performance. A central theme of his work is the relationship between photography and urban architecture, and the powerful role of images in the way architectural constructs shape the lives of individuals and communities.

In his most recent work, Calm explores the complex representation of African-American automobility from a historical and contemporary perspective, focusing and drawing on the importance and resonance of the Negro Motorist Green Book. Of this project, he explains, “the image of the infinite highway and the unbridled freedom to roam the land has always been considered a quintessential expression of the modern American spirit, but the black American experience of travel, which involves heightened subjectivity and exposure, has to this day proven a precarious privilege rather than an inalienable right.”

Calm’s art practice is international in scope and has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Frequency at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2005); Role Play at the Tate Britain (2006); Black Is, Black Ain’t at the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society (2008); Streetwise at the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid (2008) and the Chelsea Art Museum (2011); deCordova Biennial at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (2013); and Rooted Movements at LMAKprojects in New York City (2014). Calm currently lives in Palo Alto, CA where he is a faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University.