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Nam June Paik Art Center Prize Winner’s Exhibition 《Trevor Paglen—Machine Visions》
Period/ 2019.10.16(Wed) ~ 2020.02.02(Sun)
Venue/ Nam June Paik Art Center 2F
■ Machine Visions
◦ Period
: October 16, 2019 – February 2, 2020
◦ Venue
: Nam June Paik Art Center 2F
◦ Artist
: Trevor Paglen
◦ Opening
: October 16, 2019
[Artist’s Talk] 2:00 pm, Nam June Paik Art Center Seminar Room
[Opening] 2:00 pm, Nam June Paik Art Center 1F
Organized and Hosted by Nam June Paik Art Center and Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation

Nam June Paik Art Center (Director, Seong Eun Kim) presents the first solo exhibition of Trevor Paglen’s, who is the 2018 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize winner, in Korea, from October 16, 2019 to February 2, 2020. Paglen, an artist with a PhD in geography, describes his works as “maps of the hidden landscapes and forbidden sites of the digital world” as he reveals invisible systems and physical devices of state surveillance.

Upon receiving the 2018 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, Paglen commented, “it’s an incredible honor to be awarded the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize. Nam June Paik was an incredible visionary, an artist who taught us how to see a rapidly changing world, and a huge inspiration to me personally. To be recognized in relation to Nam June Paik is truly one of the greatest honor I can imagine.” Nam June Paik Art Center Prize jury committee chairwoman Kim Hong-hee praised Paglen as “an artist who implicitly exposes the secret surveillance devices of military and intelligence bodies using multiple media including photography, video, sculpture and installation. By visualizing the results of his thorough research and investigations through abstract color and formal exploration, he creates his own unique style, combining politics and aesthetics.”

Machine Visions, Trevor Paglen’s first solo exhibition in Korea, is an intensive exploration of the unique artistic world that Paglen has created, based on a variety of media. The exhibition title refers to the phenomenon whereby images are no longer created for humans but by machines in order to operate machines. Featuring 19 video, photographic and satellite works, this exhibition offers an overview of Paglen’s oeuvre, including images filmed and reproduced by AI systems, aesthetic constructions of surveillance satellites born of cosmic imagination, and visualizations of invisible state surveillance systems.

In his video work, Behold These Glorious Times!, we find images reborn from combinations data input from other image data on objects, sensations and human figures recognized by AI systems. These forms can appear strange and ugly, as frightening as monsters or phantoms. Coming face to face with these products prompts us to ask ourselves whether technological development is really creating the kind of world we wanted, and to wonder what we are actually seeing.

Paglen’s Prototype For a Nonfunctional Satellite is designed to evoke our imaginings about space. Taking the launch of a satellite and making it into a work of fine art, Paglen uses his work to pose questions that let us renew our interest in and perception of space, still a place of mystery. He describes these works as “impossible objects.” Paglen’s satellites serve no commercial or military purpose; rather, they are designed to become temporary artificial stars, creating pure happiness and a sense of mystery.

In works such as They Watch the Moon and 89 Landscapes, Paglen photographs surveillance and communication systems, global internet hubs (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London) and intelligence agency buildings created with the aim of ensuring military secrecy. Noting that power is enabled by infrastructure, Paglen directs his gaze directly at the power systems that exist secretly within it.

Calling his works “maps of the hidden landscapes and forbidden sites of the digital world,” Paglen uses high-performance optics and telephoto lenses, or dives 100 feet below the surface to explore the sea bed, photographing scenes of deep space and bottomless abysses. Capturing places of accumulated data, from hidden sites such as classified military installations and prisons to data from the digital world, drawing on AI, cable, and spy satellites, he re-compiles his own political map of unseen, unmapped places.

Trevor Paglen, the artist who explores and confirms our position with the technological environment we inhabit, will deliver an artist’s talk at 2pm on October 16 at Nam June Paik Art Center.
Nam June Paik Art Center Prize awarded by the governor of Gyeonggi Province was inaugurated in 2009 with the aim of discovering artists who, like Nam June Paik himself, open new artistic horizons through ongoing experimentation and innovation. Previously, the prize has been awarded to a series of artists and theorists who inherit Paik’s artistic spirit, achieving fusion and consilience across various genres including music, performance and the visual arts by integrating technology and art, finding new means of communication and interacting with viewers. In its inaugural year, the prize was awarded jointly to four artists (Seung-taek Lee, Eun-me Ahn, Ceal Floyer and Robert Adrian X). The following year, in 2010, it was given to philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour. Subsequent winners include artists Doug Aitken in 2012, Haroon Mirza in 2014 and Blast Theory in 2016.
Trevor Paglen
© Trevor Paglen Studio
Born in the United States in 1974, Trevor Paglen studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before gaining a PhD in geography from the University of California at Berkeley. His works have been exhibited at institutions including the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands, Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution in the US, Tate Modern in the UK, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Israel Museum, and he has taken part in international events including Berlin Biennale(2016), Gwangju Biennale(2018) and Manifesta 11(2016). Paglen has published five graphic art books on subjects such as geography, national secrecy and photography. He received a Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2014, a Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2016 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2017. In 2015, Citizenfour, on which Paglen worked as a cinematographer, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
전시 출품작 소개
1. Drone Vision, 2010
HD video, no sound, 5 min
드론 비전, 2010
Copyright: Trevor Paglen
Courtesy of: the Artist, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco

The growing importance of drones in American military strategy has made them a key source of inspiration in Paglen‘s work. From the artist’s perspective, drones are an important element in redefining vision and distance. Artists have actively recorded the use of drones in war for the past several years. The growing ubiquity of technology and its increasingly intimate relationship with politics has made it harder to grasp its most basic infrastructures. These technological developments show that it has become harder for us to interpret and take action towards the invisible surveillance structures that control us. Drone Vision delivers a “drone‘s eye view” from the perspective of a drone operator. Paglen introduces it as a reflection of his deep interest in an environment in which “secrecy, responsibility and endless war” pursue ever more perfect technology.
2. Autonomy Cube, 2015
Plexiglas cube with computer components, 49.85 cm x 49.85 cm x 49.85 cm
자율적인 정육면체, 2015
Copyright: Trevor Paglen
Courtesy of: the Artist, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco

Autonomy Cube is a sculpture designed to be housed in art museums, galleries, and civic spaces. The sculpture is meant to be both “seen” and “used.” Several Internet-connected computers housed within the work create an open Wi-Fi hotspot called “Autonomy Cube” wherever it is installed. Viewers can use the hotspot and search the Internet with freedom via Tor, a network that guarantees anonymity. Paglen introduces this work as a partial criticism of invisible surveillance structures within museums. Unbeknown to themselves, viewers looking around an exhibition are exposed to CCTV cameras. By imagining how to apply a directly opposing logic of this structure of museum surveillance, Paglen created this work as a way of keeping museum viewers around the world informed of each other’s state of connection.
*Tor Network: A type of free software that guarantees online anonymity and the evasion of censorship. Its origins lie in the United States Naval Research Laboratory. The core principle of Tor, “onion routing,” was developed in the mid-1960s by the Lab’s employees, mathematicians and computer scientists, with the aim of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online.
3. Prototype For a Nonfunctional Satellite, 2013
Mylar, steel, 487.68 cm x 487.68 cm
Copyright: The Artist and MCASD
Installation view: Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen, Museum Of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA

Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, Prototype For a Nonfunctional Satellite is a small, lightweight sculpture. If placed into low Earth orbit 360 miles above our planet, it would be inflated by CO2 cartridges to become “a sculpture in the sky,” appearing in the dark sky as a slowly moving, flickering star. It would remain in orbit for approximately three months, before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere. The nonfunctional satellite is thus not a permanent, fixed devices but a romantic gesture. Like a type of atmospheric art, it was the first satellite to be created with no regard for military, commercial or scientific gain.
4. STSS-I and Two Unidentified Spacecraft Over Carson City (Space Tracking and Surveillance System, USA; 205), 2010
C-print, 121.92 cm x 121.92 cm
5. PAN (Unknown; USA-207), 2010
C-print, 152.40 cm x 121.92 cm
6. LACROSSE/ONYX II Passing Through Draco (Radar Imaging Reconnaissance Satellite; USA 69), 2007
C-print, 152.40 cm x 121.92 cm
왼쪽부터 STSS-I 와 카슨 시티 상공의 미확인 우주물체 두 개,PAN,융자리를 통과하는 라크로스/오닉스 II
Copyright: Trevor Paglen
Courtesy of: the Artist, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco

The Other Night Sky is a project to track and photograph obscure objects that orbit the Earth, moving across the invisible sky.
Paglen describes the sky as not just a wide, free expanse but a place where the structures of electronic devices such as drones and satellites coexist. Space flight was developed “to deliver nuclear missiles to the other side of the planet,” and would not have been invented were it not for the historical conditions of nuclear arms and the Cold War. In The Other Night Sky, Paglen scours the night sky in search of objects such as old satellites, discarded spacecraft and space debris. He tracks spaceships, investigates their orbit, and takes their pictures using a camera mounted with a computer-guided telescope. When all goes to plan, the result is a skyscape covered with a pattern of small lines. These are the traces of the satellites previously invisible to us.
7. Behold These Glorious Times!, 2017
single channel color video projection, sound, stereo, 10 min
이 영광스러운 순간들을 바라보라!
Copyright: Trevor Paglen
Courtesy of: the Artist, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco

The photographs appearing in the video are used to train AI networks to recognize individuals, faces, gestures, relationships and emotions. Known as a training library, this collection is not for people but a repository of images designed by machine in order to train machines. Paglen focuses on the way images are no longer created for humans but by machines in order to operate machines. They input image data from the objects, feelings and characters habitually perceived by humans, and create new images. These forms are strange and shocking, appearing like monsters, or ghosts. When we see the outcome of these data games, and when we recognize the ways and processes by which they are produced, we find ourselves asking whether technological development is unquestionably a positive thing. What, Paglen asks, are we watching? He makes us realize that in order to understand the world as seen by machines, we must completely discard our perspectives as humans.
8. NSA-Tapped Fiber Optic Cable Landing Site, Keawaula, Hawaii, United States, 2016
C-print, 121.9 cm x 160 cm