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Seeing is Knowing: a Dialogue with Trevor Paglen, Joel Weisberg, & Laurel Bradley

Perspectives from an artist, an astronomer and a curator, with audience participation. The notion that “Seeing is Knowing” frames a free-ranging conversation around technologies of vision, ethical dimensions of enhanced “seeing,” and artists and scientists as social critics. (10/4 is the 54th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite)

Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Time: 12:00 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Gould Library Athenaeum

Contact: Laurel Bradley, Teaching Museum

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Artist, writer, experimental geographer Trevor Paglen has been exposing the secret activities of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies over the last eight years in books and large-scale landscape photographs. The photographs–crisply beautiful night sky-scapes and frustratingly fuzzy landscapes-- make visible secret U.S. government eavesdropping facilities, covert military bases, and spy satellites.

Paglen is interested in the camera and its capacity for truth-telling, and the uses of visual technologies for surveillance and secret control.

In the Other Night Sky photographs, Paglen uses the data of amateur satellite watchers to track and photograph classified spacecraft in Earth's orbit. The beauty of the resulting nocturnal landscape photographs rests uneasily on visual documents of surveillance culture.   

Paglen holds an MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D in geography, University of California, Berkeley. His books include

Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights (with AC Thompson), 2006; Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, 2009, and Invisible, 2010