Keyhole Improved Optical Treconnaissance Satellite Near Scorpio (USA 129) ©Trevor Paglen
Friday, March 6–Saturday, April 4, 2009
134 Tenth Avenue, between 18th and 19th Streets
Currently on view at Bellwether Gallery is the second solo exhibition of the artist, geographer and landscape photographer Trevor Paglen.
For several years, Paglen has been working on tracking and photographing classified American spacecraft in the earth’s orbit. The result is the project The Other Night Sky, a series of 11 photographs and a single multimedia installation that reveal a very different sky than the one most of us see when we look up on a clear evening. These mysterious space objects are indistinguishable from stars or planets and they uncover the mystery and wonder about the endless possibilities of the sky.
To create this body of work, Trevor Paglen used observational data from an international network of amateur “satellite observers.” In collaboration with a team of computer scientist and engineers at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, he spent two years developing a software model, which was able to translate the observational data into a usable form that could reveal the orbital position and motion of the classified spacecraft.
Then, he photographed them using telescopes and large-format cameras, and a computer-guided mechanical mount. The result was these incredibly color-intensive photographs of the night sky.
Active Military and Reconnaissance Satellites of the United States of America, Multimedia Installation © Trevor Paglen
Trevor Paglen is a 2008 recipient of SFMOMA’s SECA Art Award, which features an exhibition that runs concurrently with this exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His visual work has been exhibited in several well-known venues throughout the world such as Transmediale.08 Festival, Berlin; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Kunstraum Muenchen, Munich; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams and many others. His work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Wired, Newsweek, Modern Painters, Art Forum, and in the Summer 2008 issue of Aperture magazine.
In 2008, he also published his third book, Blank Spots on the Map.
Also view this article from ArtForum where the artist talks about his work.