Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...
The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...
Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...
Berlin’s history of internecine violence is visible on its civic surface, a characteristic that holds currency in both mainstream and art tourism; what differentiates these two modes is a style rather than a politics. Who can say what a city means?
Gentrification mistakes lack of capital for lack of life, confuses the unexploited with the uninhabited. Over the course of its 18 years, the history of the Berlin Biennale has paralleled the drastic conversion of its symbolic center—the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and surrounding area on Auguststrasse—from post-GDR bohemia to a neoliberalism fully realized.
Trevor Paglen was born in 1974 at an Air Force base in Maryland where his father was an ophthalmologist. He grew up on bases in the USA and Germany. A former prison-rights activist, Paglen's photographs often depict classified military activity. Previous series have featured a National Security Agency's eavesdropping complex, an Israeli nuclear weapons facility and a secret CIA prison. The images are always shot from public land. Consequentially, they are often blurred, sometimes even indecipherable. This tendency is embraced by Paglen as emphasising the secretive nature of the establishments from which he is attempting to gather information.
Trained in geography and photography, Paglen's photographs investigate the contemporary American surveillance state. However, he does not aim for perfectly crisp images and understands his photos cannot be used as evidence; he instead wants his work to wake the viewer up to what is going on around them, lurking just below the surface. Carefully keeping within the law, Paglen has photographed military facilities, stealth drones and information-gathering satellites. Through a practice that generally encompasses journalism, engineering, history, politics, photography and more, Paglen has explored the accountability or lack thereof of covert or offshore bases and more broadly the relationship between public and private information. While his works usually take the form of large-scale photographic prints, he has also made installations and films. In 2007 he published a book called I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me—a collection of photographs of military patches representing various covert projects undertaken by American personnel.
The work of drones has grown more prolific in military activity of recent years and has accordingly increased in presence in Paglen's work. They are interesting to him not only for their murderous power, but for how they rewire methods of seeing and our understanding of distance. Underlying Paglen's process is a determination towards an awareness of what is hidden. In his photographs of drones, the drones are mere dots on beautiful skies. As a viewer it is a struggle to drag your attention away from the stunning view of the clouds, to find that small dot that is the drone. This spot, however, represents surveillance and potentially death, and is dangerous to ignore.
Paglen uses his research and art to gain new perspectives on the contemporary political moment in its historical context, as well as imagining possible futures. With the help of Creative Time and MIT, in 2012 Paglen launched a disc micro-etched with 100 photographs into distant orbit around Earth. The disc is surrounded by a gold-plated shell and is designed to last billions of years. The project acts as a time capsule for future generations or aliens, or perhaps humankind's successor. The Last Pictures, a critical compendium, documents this project and the process of choosing the 100 photographs. Paglen received his BA from University of California, Berkeley, MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and PhD in Geography from University of California, Berkeley. His PhD dissertation was altered and published under the title Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Hidden World. In 2014 he received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and in 2016 he was awarded the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.
Paglen lives and works in Berlin.
Pryde’s work attacks stock photographic aesthetic by technically reworking and reconfiguring images and by addressing the conditions of their display. The surfaces of glossy fashion photographs are disrupted by the insertion of aluminium tubes, which emphasise their ‘objectness’ and their status as artworks. Colourful photoshop juxtapositions of MRI scans of the human foetus and macro-lens desertscapes are unnervingly loaded. They refer to the history of darkroom experimentation and to contemporary medical-imaging techniques. Pryde doesn’t reject the language of photographic imagery, rather she adopts it and layers it up. Her guinea pig portraits are inspired by ‘cute pet photography’ but her choice of subject conjures associations with laboratory research.
WU TSANG is an artist, performer and filmmaker. Her films, performances, and installations have been presented at museums and film festivals internationally. Tsang's first feature WILDNESS (2012) premiered at MoMA's Documentary Fortnight and won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at OUTFEST Los Angeles. Her recent short YOU'RE DEAD TO ME premiered on PBS and won the 2014 Imagen Award for Best Short. Tsang has presented projects at the Tate Modern (London), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Whitney Museum and the New Museum (New York), the Hammer Museum and MOCA (Los Angeles), Gwangju Biennial (South Korea), Liverpool Biennial (UK), and the 2012 Whitney Biennial (New York). Tsang is a 2014 Rockerfeller Bellagio Creative Arts Fellow and a 2015 Creative Capital Fellow.
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