Trevor Paglen was born in 1974 in Camp Springs, Maryland, and lives and works in Berlin.
His work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. His work deliberately blurs lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us.
For Artes Mundi 8, Paglen is presenting two ongoing series of seminal work. In the first, The Other Night Sky (2007 – ongoing), Paglen has spent the last eleven years working with a network of amateur astronomers to track the more than 200 classified military satellites that orbit the earth. He is also exhibiting works from his series Limit Telephotography (2005 – ongoing), documenting secret US government bases and operations, often from extreme distances.
A mid-career survey exhibition Sights Unseen is on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., from June 21, 2018, to January 6, 2019, accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. Further one-person shows have been held at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Secession, Vienna; Berkeley Art Museum; Kunsthall Oslo; and Kunsthalle Giessen, Germany. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Haus der Kunst, Munich; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He participated in the 2009 Istanbul Biennial; 2012 Liverpool Biennial; 2013 ICP Triennial, New York; and the 11th Gwangju Biennale. He has received numerous awards, including a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2014 Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award for his contributions to counter-surveillance, and the 2016 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.