Blank Spots on the Map
Blank Spots on the Map
A presentation by Trevor Paglen
Geographer and artist Trevor Paglen takes us on a road trip through the world of hidden budgets, state secrets, covert military bases, and disappeared people: through a landscape that military and intelligence
insiders call the "black world." Over the course of his talk, Paglen leads us from "non-existent" Air Force and CIA installations in the Nevada desert to secret prisons in Afghanistan and to a collection of even more obscure "black sites" startlingly close to home. Using hundreds of images he has produced and collected over the course of his work, Paglen shows how the black world's internal contradictions give rise to a peculiar visual, aesthetic, and epistemological grammar with which to think about the contemporary moment.
Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us.
Paglen's visual work has been exhibited at 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; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; among other venues. He lectures frequently on his work, at venues including The Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and 16 Beaver Group, New York. His work has been featured in numerous publications, from The New York Times to Wired to the New York Review of Books to Modern Painters and Aperture.
Paglen has received grants and commissions from Rhizome.org, the LEF Foundation, Artadia, and the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology. In 2005, he was a Vectors Journal Fellow at the University of Southern California.
Paglen’s first book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights (co-authored with AC Thompson; Melville House, 2006) was the first book to systematically describe the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program. His second book, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me (Melville House, 2007) an examination of the visual culture of "black" military programs, was published in November 2007. His third book, entitled Blank Spots on a Map, will be published by Dutton/NAL/Penguin in February 2009.
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.
Paglen lives and works in Berkeley, CA.