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Trevor Paglen

11 Podcast Episodes

Latest 16 Oct 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Trevor Paglen on Art in the Age of Mass Surveillance and Artificial Intelligence

Time Sensitive Podcast

Trevor Paglen aspires to see the unseen. The artist explores the act of looking through various angles—such as how artificial-intelligence systems have been trained to “see” and categorize the world, or the disquieting sense of being “watched” by a security camera—and creates scenarios that frequently implicate viewers in the experience. At other times, he’ll take pictures of places that are typically kept far out of sight, including the rarely seen headquarters of America’s National Security Agency, or the Mojave Desert, home to numerous military facilities, prisons, and a former nuclear testing site. Paglen, who has a Ph.D. in geography from University of California, Berkeley, also thinks about the relationship between space and time, and how the associations a person makes while looking at something—be it an age-old landscape or a satellite in endless orbit around the Earth—are fleeting and constantly changing. By highlighting invisible frameworks that exist in the world, Paglen invites viewers to think about life’s inconspicuous, and often unsettling, realities. Paglen, who is 47 and has studios in New York and Berlin, draws on science, technology, and investigative journalism to make his wide-ranging work. In one of his early projects, “Recording Carceral Landscapes” (1995–2004), he wore a concealed microphone and posed as a criminology student to document the interiors of California penitentiaries. For “The Last Pictures” (2012), he collaborated with materials scientists at M.I.T. to devise an ultra-archival disc, micro-etched with a collection of 100 images, and launched it into space on a communications satellite for aliens to find. More recently, his viral digital art project and app “ImageNet Roulette” (2020), which allowed users to upload photos of their faces to see how A.I. might label them, horrified many users with racist, sexist, or overtly stereotypical results, leading ImageNet, a leading image database, to remove half a million images.  Beyond his art practice, Paglen continues his preoccupation with perception. He studies martial arts, surfs, and composes music—activities that require constant, intense awareness. It all stems from a heightened consciousness of, and interest in, the concept of observation that he’s carried for nearly his entire life. “We’re all trying to learn different ways of seeing,” he says. On this episode, Paglen discusses his deep-seated fascination with perception, talking with Spencer about the impacts of surveillance, deserts as sites of secrecy, and the value of trying to perceive forces that seem impossible to see. Show notes:Full transcript on timesensitive.fm@trevorpaglenpaglen.studio04:54: “The Last Pictures” project (2012)19:51: “Orbital Reflector” (2018)29:48: Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” (1970) 42:53: Paglen’s thrash group, Noisegate47:15: “Recording Carceral Landscapes” (1995–2004) 1:05:13: “ImageNet Roulette” (2020) 1:05:13: “Bloom” (2020)

1hr 12mins

22 Sep 2021

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The Quarantine Tapes 186: Trevor Paglen

The Quarantine Tapes

On episode 186 of The Quarantine Tapes, Paul Holdengräber is joined by Trevor Paglen. Trevor is an artist and he talks with Paul about surprising himself with the type of work he found himself interested in this year. They discuss his focus on flowers in his most recent project, “Bloom.”Trevor and Paul dig into how images are changing in recent years and talk about Trevor’s essay, “Invisible Images.” They discuss the proliferation of algorithms and computer vision and talk about NFTs, Walter Benjamin, and the changing meaning of images under the pandemic. Then, Trevor unpacks the worrisome implications of images being separated from human eyes and his concerns over how these systems monitor and extract value from our lives. Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Paglen’s work has had one-person exhibitions at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington D.C.; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Fondazione Prada, Milan; the Barbican Centre, London; Vienna Secession, Vienna; and Protocinema Istanbul, and participated in group exhibitions the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, and numerous other venues. Paglen has launched an artwork into distant orbit around Earth in collaboration with Creative Time and MIT, contributed research and cinematography to the Academy Award-winning film Citizenfour, and created a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan. Paglen is the author of several books and numerous articles on subjects including experimental geography, artificial intelligence, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality. Paglen’s work has been profiled in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, the Financial Times, Art Forum, and Aperture. In 2014, he received the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award and in 2016, he won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. Paglen was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2017.  Paglen holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley.


22 Apr 2021

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Trevor Paglen

Monocle 24: The Monocle Weekly

In this special interview, Monocle’s Augustin Macellari talks to artist Trevor Paglen about his new London exhibition, ‘Bloom’, and reflects on how technology’s complicated systems are shaping our lives.


3 Oct 2020

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Trevor Paglen: Why Clouds?

George Eastman Museum

From photography’s beginnings, clouds had been central to aesthetic and technological debates in photographic circles. Moreover, they featured in discussions about the nature of the medium itself. Through the juxtaposition of nineteenth-century and contemporary works, the exhibition further considers the longstanding metaphorical relationship between clouds and photography. This audio tour features contemporary artists from the exhibition, who each answer the question: why clouds?


25 Jul 2020

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Why Artist Trevor Paglen Is Doing Everything He Can to Warn Humanity About Artificial Intelligence

The Art Angle

In fall 2019, a new app called ImageNet Roulette was introduced to the world with what seemed like a simple, fun premise: snap a selfie, upload it to a database, and wait a few seconds for machine learning to tell you what type of person you are. Maybe a "teacher," maybe a "pilot," maybe even just a "woman." Or maybe, as the app's creator warned, the labels the system tagged you with would be shockingly racist, misogynistic, or misanthropic. Frequently, the warning turned out to be prescient, and the app immediately went viral thanks to its penchant for slurs and provocative presumptions. Long since decommissioned, ImageNet Roulette was part of a larger initiative undertaken by artist Trevor Paglen and artificial intelligence researcher Kate Crawford to expose the latent biases coded into the massive data sets informing a growing number of A.I. systems. It was only the latest light that Paglen's work had shined onto the dark underbelly of our image-saturated, technology-mediated world. Even beyond his Ph.D. in geography and his MacArthur "Genius" grant, Paglen's resume is unique among his peers on blue-chip gallery rosters. He's photographically infiltrated CIA black sites, scuba-dived through labyrinths of undersea data cables, launched art into space, and collaborated with NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, all as a means of making innovative art that brings into focus the all-but-invisible power structures governing contemporary life. On this week's episode of The Art Angle, Paglen joins Andrew Goldstein by phone to discuss his adventurous career. Although the episode was recorded before George Floyd's murder sparked nationwide demonstrations for racial justice, Paglen's work is more timely than ever for its probing of surveillance, authoritarianism, and the ways both are being simultaneously empowered and cloaked by A.I.


12 Jun 2020

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Tangent Show #14 - Coloring Books, Government Secrets and FOIA, Growing FB Groups, Trevor Paglen...

The Tangent Show

 Another jampacked Tangent Show!  This week we went to see Sites Unseen by Trevor Paglen at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown San Diego and it sent our creativity into overdrive!  We talk all about it here.  And share some relevant tips for making books like what the Freedom of Information Act is and how it can help you create content.     Also, we answer two of the most frequently asked questions we've heard this week - how to make coloring books (that will actually sell) and how to grow a Facebook group once you've got it started (see my previous video to learn how to start a group on the 'down low').   Plus... what we can learn from Tide being repackaged, why LaCroix is losing money and Isaac explains what the deal is with the new iPod Touch.   Lastly,  we go trendhunting at Google Trends to find an unusual trending niche that is very underserved - and Katharyne shares a bunch of low content book ideas for it.   We also show how to use Google Trends to find international niche ideas.  Great if you're making books for other countries outside the US!  Links:    Tangent Templates: https://templates.tangent.rocks KDP Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amazoncreatespace Cultivate:  https://cultivate.katharyne.com/curriculum Trevor Paglen: http://www.paglen.com Google Trends: https://trends.google.com 

1hr 13mins

18 Aug 2019

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Photographs of Trevor Paglen

A Minimal Event

In our opening podcast, we’ll be reviewing the essay “Disappearances, The Photography of Trevor Paglen,” by Thomas Keenan. Chris, Andrej and Helen discuss Trevor Paglen, ~31m Disappearances EssayDownload Show Notes Paglen.comTrevor Paglen: Sites Unseen at the SmithsonianTrevor Paglen Plumbs the Internet (New Yorker)Trevor Paglen Peers Into the World of Computer VisionThe Art of the SublimeHilma af Klint: Paintings for the FutureNudity, Nature and Sparklers, Inside the World of Photographer Ryan McGingleyPower, secrecy and cypherpunks: how Jacob Appelbaum ripped Tor apart Limit TelephotographyNational Reconnaissance Office Ground Station (ADF-SW) Jornada del Muerto, New MexicoC-Print, 38 x 48.6 inches, 2012, © Trevor Paglen DronesUntitled (Reaper Drone)C-Print, 48 x60 inches, 2010, © Trevor Paglen The Other Night SkyPAN (Unknown; USA-207)C-Print, 60 x 48 inches, 2010-11, © Trevor Paglen Internet Underwater CablesMid-Atlantic Crossing (MAC) NSA/GCHQ-Tapped Undersea Cable Atlantic Ocean2015, © Trevor Paglen A Study of Invisible Images“‘Fanon’ (Even the Dead Are Not Safe) Eigenface” 2017, dye sublimation metal print, © Trevor Paglen Autonomy CubeMixed media, 350mm x 350mm x 350mm, 2014, © Trevor Paglen

22 Jan 2019

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Visibility Machines: A Conversation with Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen

National Gallery of Art | Talks

Artists Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen in conversation with Niels Van Tomme, visiting curator, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Artists Harun Farocki (b. 1944, Germany) and Trevor Paglen (b. 1974, United States) will discuss their unique roles as artistic observers of global military operations with curator Niels Van Tomme. Investigating forms of surveillance, espionage, war-making, and weaponry, Farocki and Paglen address the vast implications of such activities for image-making, and the media they are creatively working with, namely film and photography. In which ways have the realities they depict transformed, and politicized, our relationship to images? And, what is ultimately the responsibility of artists in capturing or revealing such processes? This program is coordinated with the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) in conjunction with the exhibition "Visibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen," on view at the CADVC from October 24, 2013, through February 22, 2014.


4 Nov 2014

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Media Roots Radio - Interview with Trevor Paglen, Experimental Geographer, Artist & Author

Media Roots Radio

MEDIA ROOTS- Trevor Paglen's work deliberately blurs the lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us.Paglen’s visual work has been exhibited at several art museums worldwide and his writing and art have been published in major publications including The New York Times, Wired, Vanity Fair and Newsweek. Paglen holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley, where he remains an affiliated researcher.In the 90s, Paglen was a member of a locally revered bay area noise/experimental project called Noise Gate, and co-ran an infamous underground venue in downtown Oakland called the Sandcrawler. His electronic music background hugely inspired co-host Robbie Martin in his own musical evolution.Paglen is also the author of several books: Torture Taxi, the first book to comprehensively cover the CIA's extraordinary rendition program; I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me, a book looking at the world of black projects through unit patches and memorabilia created for top-secret programs; and Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World, a book that gives a broader look at secrecy in the United States.http://www.mediaroots.org/interview-with-experimental-geographer-artist-trevor-paglen.php http://www.MediaRoots.org

1hr 6mins

6 Sep 2011

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Spark: Trevor Paglen

KQED: Spark Art Video Podcast

See the unseen in the desert with photographer Trevor Paglen. Original air date: April 2006.

28 Feb 2009