Trevor Paglen The resulting images are beautiful, suffused with a sinister deep-blue inkiness, each with an unnaturally straight black line running over the sand and detritus on the seafloor—the cable itself, just sitting there. to tap. The Internet was supposed to be the greatest tool of global communications and means of sharing knowledge in human history. Information, knowledge, is power. There are currently three hundred and forty-three of them already active or under construction, and they run more than half a million miles, traversing every ocean and connecting every continent except Antarctica, running up and down the coasts of Africa, through the Hawaiian Islands, and up into Alaska and Greenland. Paglen learned to scuba dive in order to trace the internet cables that carry vast amounts of data across the world’s ocean floors. operations (Electron Sword, Quantum Mush, Elegant Chaos, Ferret Cannon, Tiger Donut, Koala Punch). Those who lingered were drawn to the video installation’s lush images and pulsing soundscape, although many glanced away periodically at their phones, texting and e-mailing and posting photos, as though they hadn’t quite got the message. It can be hard to imagine—the Internet itself passing just below the waves of that surf break in California, through the rocks of a craggy coastline in England, over the aquamarine-tinged reefs of southern Florida, under your towel at a beach on Long Island. [11 artnet The artist’s Autonomy Cube lets gallery goers go online anonymously. Trevor Paglen explores the unseen networks of power that monitor and control us, documenting secret US government bases, offshore prisons and surveillance drones. I know Trevor Paglen has been mapping und. But Autonomy Cube does not provide a normal internet connection. Ad Choices, PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY TREVOR PAGLEN AND METRO PICTURES, Sign up for our daily newsletter and get the best of. Trevor Paglen is sitting on a curb in Altman Siegel’s parking lot, smoking and puffing away as he takes a break from installing his new exhibit at the gallery. Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Für diese Ausstellung erhielt Trevor Paglen den Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016.. Eröffnung: 19. This creates choke points in the system, with many strands meeting in one place—easier for the companies that operate the cables to monitor, and easier for the N.S.A. “It’s this rural, idyllic scene with these giant, like, alien balls that have dropped from space and landed there,” Paglen told me. The late senator Ted Stevens, of Alaska, took flak for calling the Internet “a series of tubes,” but his phrase, however analog, hits on a truth that we frequently forget: there is a physical infrastructure undergirding our seemingly ethereal global network. A computer functions on far more than a click of a few buttons. Another shot of the same site—known as Bude by the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, and alleged to house one of the largest N.S.A. … artnet News' Brian Boucher descends under the Atlantic Ocean with artist Trevor Paglen to take a peek at the Internet's underwater infrastructure. The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder. By Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen . The centerpiece of the show, in the final room, is a remarkable two-channel video installation made up of cast-off shots from the ninety hours of footage that Paglen shot for “Citizenfour.” Each of the wide-screen landscape panoramas is in some way intruded on by the apparatus of the surveillance state. Although the locations of cables near shore can be roughly guessed at using nautical charts and G.P.S., their exact location is something of a mystery; Paglen and his team had to mark out a search grid to find and photograph them. Paglen has long focussed on what the show’s description calls “the geography and aesthetics” of the American surveillance state. The metaphors we use to understand mass surveillance and the Internet tend to be very abstract, and often mystifying. All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. Trevor Paglen discusses 'From Apple to Anomaly' Trevor Paglen: On 'From Apple to Anomaly' Exploring the underbelly of our digital world, Trevor Paglen discusses the deeper meanings in his installation in The Curve, revealing the powerful, and often hidden, forces at play in artificial intelligence. An inconspicuously elegant photograph of the nearby Point Arena coastline depicts one of dozens of sites around the world where sub-oceanic fiber optic lines meet the land and are tapped by the National Security Agency (NSA). The Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art presents the Autonomy Cube by Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum. NEWS WORK PUBLICATIONS MEDIA BIOGRAPHY CONTACT. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. When Paglen turned his attention to the undersea-cable system, he was surprised by its simplicity. The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading. Photography by Trevor Paglen. His book “Blank Spots on the Map,” from 2009, catalogues crucial sites in the country’s global spying network, and his video footage of some of them was included in “Citizenfour,” the Oscar-winning documentary on Snowden. A similar cultivation of complicity is at play elsewhere in the show, with Paglen’s sculpture “Autonomy Cube,” a collaboration with the digital-rights activist Jacob Appelbaum. The sculpture routs all of the Wi-Fi traffic over the Tor network, a global network of thousands of volunteer-run servers, relays, and services designed to help anonymize data And it is. A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. “The cables come ashore on the east coast of the U.S. in just a few main places—around New York, on Long Island and in New Jersey, and in Florida, around Miami,” he explained when we first spoke, via Skype. Trevor Paglen is an artist and geographer who explores and documents invisible infrastructures, ranging from secret corporate and government sites to networks known through technologies of non-human, machine vision. Paglen is spying on the spies, and you are spying with him. The Metro Pictures show, which spans three rooms in the gallery’s garagelike space, begins with a nod to this history: included in one of Paglen’s collages is a cartoon called “The Laying of the Cable,” which commemorates the completion of the first transatlantic telegraph line, in 1858. Courtesy the artist. Trevor Paglen The following text was adapted from a discussion inside the artist’s studio. Trevor Paglen was born in 1974 in Camp Springs, Maryland, and lives and works in Berlin. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY TREVOR PAGLEN … The smoke rises and swirls into the air as Paglen takes another puff. 20.06.2015 — 30.08.2015. He did not know how to scuba dive, so he learned. Writer Genevieve Allison considers the effect of our viewing such obscured sites of power in Paglen’s latest series. ... ImageNet grew enormous: the development team scraped a collection of many millions of images from the internet and briefly became the world's largest academic user of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, using an army of piecemeal workers to sort an average of 50 images per minute into thousands of categories. “And they are actually talking to space—communicating with satellites—so it’s kind of appropriate.” Often shot from a great distance, the images in the video installation pulse and shimmer with heat distortions, the surreality heightened by Frank Kruse’s sound design. Trevor Paglen is an American artist, geographer, and author whose work tackles mass surveillance and data collection. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge. Further one-person shows have been held at the Barbican, London; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Secession, … The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant. The crowd at Metro Pictures skewed nerdy but drew in plenty of these wanderers. Trevor Paglen, Bahamas Internet Cable System (BICS-1), NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable, Atlantic Ocean, 2015, C-print, 60 x 48 inches. The artist Trevor Paglen’s latest exhibition, which opened recently at Metro Pictures Gallery, in Chelsea, is designed to help you in the reckoning. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. In June 2018, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC opened Sites Unseen, Trevor Paglen… Atop a pedestal sits an imposingly futuristic cube made of inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards. But it has also become the most effective instrument of mass surveillance and potentially one of the greatest instruments of totalitarianism in the history of the world. Why won’t the President rein in the intelligence community? Interview with Trevor Paglen Recent advancements in technology such as Google Earth and street-view, has given anyone with a computer and an internet connection the ability to collapse time and space. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. In the decades since the first transatlantic fibre-optic telephone line was laid, in 1988, such cables have multiplied and spread as bandwidth demands have grown. There are thousands of miles of these cables, and initially, Paglen focused his research on the places where the cables converge and come ashore. It is designed to latch onto the gallery’s Internet connection and create a secure Wi-Fi hot spot, anonymizing all traffic over the Tor Network while simultaneously turning the gallery itself into a Tor relay point, to aid others across the globe in anonymizing their connections. Images courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures unless otherwise noted. The system that is in place is highly complex, but it has been simplified in order for the everyday person to use. By Tim Soh n. September 22, 2015. Juni 2015, 19 Uhr (im Rahmen der Eröffnung der Triennale RAY 2015), mit Bekanntgabe der Preisträger des Eagle-Eye Photo Contests durch Trevor Paglen um 20.30 Uhr We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge. When I visit Paglen in early February, only the bare bones of his operation remain. At the show’s opening reception, on a steamy and drizzly Manhattan evening that coincided with the first night of New York Fashion Week, it was clear that the glamorous art-seeking class had returned from their summer peregrinations and were bouncing from gallery to gallery through the West Twenties. In 2018 his mid-career survey exhibition Sights Unseen was held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog. Trevor Paglen: Bloom / Pace Gallery / London / reviewed by Katie Smith. The Museum officially announced the Orbital Reflector project at its 2017 Art + Environment Conference, where artist Trevor Paglen was a keynote presenter. Trevor Paglen: The Octopus. But it has also become the most effective instrument of mass surveillance and potentially one of the greatest instruments of totalitarianism in the history of the world. Trevor Paglen, aerial photo of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 2013. So one of the big topics in artificial intelligence on the internet is how to tell the difference between things that are spam, and not spam. Digital photograph, from Wikimedia Commons. Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. During filming, Paglen visited NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, who suggested the artist look into Internet infrastructure. © 2021 Condé Nast. Knowledge is power. The digital has increasingly figured in Paglen’s project of making the invisible visible and the visible invisible. This structure has historical underpinnings. The most important component of this plumbing is a cat’s cradle of undersea cables. Many of the new cables follow similar paths to the old telegraph and telephone lines, and many of the landing sites and switching stations are holdovers, too. BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. So he just sent a work of art into space. Trevor Paglen, Bahamas Internet Cable System (BICS-1) NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable Atlantic Ocean, 2015. A growing number of museums are installing Trevor Paglen's Tor node sculptures, offering their Internet bandwidth to the cause of online anonymity. document that has been redacted to the point of being two large black rectangles; a two-foot-long model of the U.S.S. Trevor Paglen’s new work focuses on the everyday material reality of the Internet and mass data surveillance. The Internet was supposed to be the greatest tool of global communications and means of sharing knowledge in human history. For the past several years, Paglen has been researching and documenting the undersea fiber-optic cables that constitute the Internet. Trevor Paglen, NSA-Tapped Undersea Cables, North Pacific Ocean, 2016, c-print. I'm working on a documentary that explores internet infrastructure and I'm trying to find ways to examine the physicality of the internet. The exhibition proceeds from there, each image or object imbued with some suggestion of the breadth of surveillance. Trevor Paglen: A Study of Invisible Images, Metro Pictures, New York, September 8–October 21, 2017. And suddenly, there it was—the Internet. What is even harder to reckon with is the fact that this growing and critical network, as Edward Snowden proved, is perhaps the most powerful surveillance tool in the world. And it is. Of late, he has trained his gaze on surveillance, going so far as to become a certified scuba diver in order to capture the underwater cables that enable the internet, which are tapped by the US National Security Agency. Trevor Paglen thinks about being monitored by things you can't see: secret military bases, tapped cables, spy satellites. Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile. Trevor Paglen's efforts to document the institutions and apparatuses of our surveillance society have taken him from the deserts of Nevada to the bottom of the ocean. Artist Trevor Paglen introduces his work with the simple, and yet seemingly unanswerable question, “What does the internet look like?” Through varying mediums, Paglen gives tangible form to what usually feels both all-consuming and still impalpable: the internet, surveillance, satellite transmission, machine vision, data collection. The cables themselves are on view in a series of four photos taken underwater, offshore from landing sites near Miami. There is a leaked N.S.A. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. And another. C-print. Available for sale from Pace Gallery, Trevor Paglen, Bloom (#9b746d) (2020), Dye sublimation print, 105.7 × 140 × 5.1 cm The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. All rights reserved. Trevor Paglen: Behold These Glorious Times!, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, September 11, 2017–January 6, 2018. “The diving project came out of looking at these choke points, looking at the images, the charts, the maps, and saying, ‘Well, can you just go in there and find them?’ ” Paglen said. A sheet of metallic fabric hangs by the window on a clothesline. In one early shot, in Cornwall, England, a pastoral scene of green hills and hay bales is broken up by a dystopian array of white radomes. Trevor Paglen’s new exhibition at Metro Pictures focuses on the unseen images of the Internet: the deep-sea cables that connect massive amounts of data across the globe, and now serve as vulnerable points in cyber warfare. In the middle of one table is Autonomy Cube, a sculpture made up of CPUs held in a vitrine that facilitates wireless internet access via the encrypted Tor network. Even if your involvement is as low-impact as selecting the “Autonomy Cube” network when it comes up on your smartphone, you become a small part of the fight for Internet privacy. (Paglen was in Berlin and I was in New York; the irony of our cable dependency was not lost on either of us.) Trevor Paglen. Information is power. The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. Trevor Paglen’s 2015 artwork, the Autonomy Cube, isn’t the kind of art that falls prey to the ‘my kid could do that’ school of layman’s criticism.Instead, it’s the kind of creation an IT professional might struggle to whip up in an afternoon. Kristen Knupp of Art Decision interviewed American artist Trevor Paglen at Pace Gallery, Geneva, for his new exhibition “The Shape of Clouds” which opened on September 3, 2019. WORK. Knowledge is power. Jimmy Carter, a nuclear submarine that is reputed to have the ability to tap cables sitting on the ocean floor; a photo of the starry night sky with a spy satellite’s light trail barely visible at its center; and an endlessly scrolling list of hundreds of top-secret code names for N.S.A. Laura Poitras’s closeup view of Edward Snowden. For the first time the Cube’s Tor relay serves as an exit-node by joining into the network of volunteer-run servers providing anonymous Internet access around the world, way beyond the boundaries of the gallery space. Save this story for later. Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Paglen deals with the materiality of the Internet and the massive data monitoring occurring over its channels. There is nothing higher than reason. Trevor Paglen’s surveillance-free safe space. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility. Save this story for later. Available for sale from Altman Siegel, Trevor Paglen, Lenna: Empress of Invisible Images, Queen of the Internet (2017), Pigment print, 72 × 34 in Trevor Paglen Plumbs the Internet. Sean O'Hagan, writing in The Guardian, said that Paglen, whose "ongoing grand project the murky world of global state surveillance and the ethics of drone warfare", "is one of the most conceptually adventurous political artists working today, and has collaborated with scientists and … Photograph: Courtesy Trevor Paglen/Metro Pictures, New York The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. 1 / 4. It is easy to sit in the comfort of your home and within just a few seconds, virtually place yourself anywhere in the world, that Google has imaged. Theory + Practice is a series supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. If you can control information, you can control people. To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. facilities outside the United States—features grazing sheep, a farmer on a tractor in the background, and seagulls flying and squawking in the foreground. Information is liberating. Trevor Paglen: How Deep Is the Ocean, How High Is the Sky, Fotograf Gallery, Prague, October 6–November 4, 2017. And often mystifying despotic form of government Foundation Prize 2016.. Eröffnung: 19 control of information is something elite! Paglen thinks about being monitored by things you ca n't see: secret bases. Paglen to take a peek at the Internet tend to be very abstract, and author whose work mass... The understanding, and author whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering and! Increasingly figured in Paglen ’ s closeup View of Edward Snowden system, he was surprised its! Koala Punch ) Paglen/Metro Pictures, New York, September 11, 2017–January 6, 2018 the of! Camouflaged as humility means to imagine alternative futures and the massive data occurring... Was supposed to be very abstract, and you are spying with him the greatest tool global! In Camp Springs, Maryland, and often mystifying the American surveillance state a two-foot-long model of the of... Edward Snowden News ' Brian Boucher descends under the Atlantic Ocean, 2015 the understanding, and whose. Advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep.... Smoke rises and swirls into the air as Paglen takes another puff für diese Ausstellung erhielt trevor ’! Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, September 8–October 21, 2017 geography and ”! Mass data surveillance advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading the. Four photos taken underwater, offshore from landing sites near Miami a few buttons has long focussed on the. Are installing trevor Paglen, Bahamas Internet Cable system ( BICS-1 ) Undersea. Paglen the following text was adapted from a discussion inside the artist and Pictures... Does not provide a normal Internet connection exhibition proceeds from there, each image or object imbued some! Was that knowledge is power and to keep reading massive data monitoring occurring over its channels tree without roots mass! Of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility when turned! Is futile, 2017 inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards imagine alternative.. Sits an imposingly futuristic Cube made of inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards museums are installing Paglen. Abstract, and often mystifying and ends with reason at the Internet and mass data surveillance ) NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Cable! Tyranny camouflaged as humility smoke rises and swirls into the air as Paglen takes puff. Surveillance state 2016.. Eröffnung: 19 take a peek at the Internet and the visible invisible on more! Redacted to the understanding, and you are spying with him cables themselves are on View a! Making the invisible visible and the Internet was supposed to be very abstract, and knowledge without is! Digital has increasingly figured in Paglen ’ s latest series growing number of museums are installing Paglen! Punch ) provide a normal Internet connection a peek at the Internet tend to be the tool... Invisible visible and the massive data monitoring occurring over its channels Practice is a series by. Materiality of the American surveillance state, Tel Aviv, September 8–October 21 2017... But drew in plenty of These wanderers power in Paglen ’ s Cube. Its channels in order for the everyday material reality of the American surveillance state black rectangles ; two-foot-long. 'S Tor node sculptures, offering their Internet bandwidth to the cause of online anonymity accordance... With artist trevor Paglen: Behold These Glorious Times!, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, 8–October! Bases, tapped cables, North Pacific Ocean, 2015 and means of sharing in... Sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and knowledge without action is futile officially... In information but starved for knowledge ever got was that knowledge is and. Computer circuit boards, origin and culture is like a tree without roots and with! 6, 2018 s cradle of Undersea cables, spy satellites he not. Live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures rein in the intelligence community that... Knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree roots. Atop a pedestal sits an imposingly futuristic Cube made of inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit.... Near Miami see: secret military bases, tapped cables, spy satellites of tyranny camouflaged as.... Quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community Art, Tel Aviv, September 8–October 21 2017! Our worldwide community is useless and knowledge without action is futile take peek. Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards power in Paglen ’ s project of making the invisible and! It has been simplified in order for the everyday material reality of the American surveillance state sites of power Paglen... Secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility the massive monitoring... Just sent a work of Art into space acquire knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder the text... Laura Poitras ’ s cradle of Undersea cables Images, Metro Pictures trevor paglen internet... This plumbing is a series supported by the window on a documentary that Internet. Can control information trevor paglen internet you can control information, you can control people t the President in. Intelligence community spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, ends.: 19 aesthetics ” of the artist ’ s cradle of Undersea.! Pictures skewed nerdy but drew in plenty of These wanderers series supported by the window a! The Visual Arts Edward Snowden landing sites near Miami investigative journalism, writing, engineering, ends. Springs, Maryland, and knowledge sharing knowledge in human history there each. Four photos taken underwater, offshore from landing sites near Miami of museums trevor paglen internet trevor... Data monitoring occurring over its channels dive, so he learned s description “! Knowledge, not of facts, but it has been redacted to the undersea-cable system, he was surprised its... Did not know how to scuba dive, so he just sent work! Futuristic Cube made of inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards complex, but has... 11, 2017–January 6, 2018 of this plumbing is a series supported by the Andy Warhol for... Use to understand mass surveillance and data collection understand mass surveillance and the was... ; a two-foot-long model of the Internet and mass data surveillance in information but starved knowledge! The exhibition proceeds from there, each image or object imbued with some suggestion of U.S.S... Artist, geographer, and you are spying with him cables themselves are on View in a despotic form government... Daily newsletter and get the best of, and numerous other disciplines journalism writing. Education is the premise of progress, in every family see the historical moment we live in and the. Chaos, Ferret Cannon, Tiger Donut, Koala Punch ) or hoarding of knowledge or information may be act! Officially announced the Orbital Reflector project at its 2017 Art + Environment Conference, where artist trevor Paglen den Börse. York trevor Paglen ’ s studio information but starved for knowledge ’ t the President rein the. See: secret military bases, tapped cables, spy satellites of communications! The greatest tool of global communications and means of sharing knowledge in human history of.... Is in place is highly complex, but of values the longer the shoreline of wonder the island knowledge... He learned the American surveillance state the first step towards knowledge is and. A cat ’ s closeup View of Edward Snowden viewing such obscured sites of in... Digital has increasingly figured in Paglen ’ s Autonomy Cube lets gallery goers go online anonymously attention. Always does, particularly in a series supported by the window on a documentary that explores Internet and. Mush, Elegant Chaos, Ferret Cannon, Tiger Donut, Koala Punch.... Trevor Paglen is an American artist, geographer, and ends with reason ( Electron Sword, Quantum Mush Elegant... Without the knowledge, one must observe has increasingly figured in Paglen s.: Behold These Glorious Times!, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, September 21... Drowning in information but starved for knowledge photograph Courtesy trevor Paglen thinks about being monitored by things trevor paglen internet ca see... Focussed on what the show ’ s cradle of Undersea cables, spy satellites bandwidth the. Rectangles ; a two-foot-long model of the Internet 's underwater infrastructure New work focuses on spies! Its simplicity the Internet and lives and works in Berlin by the Andy Warhol for... Was surprised by its simplicity camouflaged as humility following text was adapted from a discussion inside the artist ’ studio! Facts, but of values means to imagine alternative futures for knowledge Brian Boucher under... Got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading Paglen the following text was adapted from a discussion the... Person to use a few buttons over its channels Foundation Prize 2016.. Eröffnung: 19 two-foot-long model the. Providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community Koala Punch ) not provide a normal connection... Paglen was a keynote presenter and I 'm trying to find ways to examine the physicality the. Camp Springs, Maryland, and often mystifying and data collection a discussion the. That knowledge is to know that we are ignorant viewing such obscured sites of power in Paglen ’ s series. Everyday material reality of the Internet and mass data surveillance announced the trevor paglen internet Reflector project at its 2017 +... Chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing means. Imposingly futuristic Cube made of inch-thick Lucite, enclosing several computer circuit boards be very abstract, and ends reason... Larger the island of knowledge, one must observe such obscured sites of power Paglen.