Trevor Paglen

Artist-investigator blending art, journalism, geography and science

In 2014 the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organisation set up to defend civil liberties in the digital world, awarded Paglen one of its Pioneer Awards, for being a ‘groundbreaking investigative artist’. It’s a title that more than suits the American artist, writer and geographer, whose work makes visible the often secret technologies and state activities that impact on our lives. Projects include using tracking data to photograph the night sky at the time and location of classified American satellite transmissions, and photographing the very physical network of undersea Internet cables that traverse the oceans, transporting our digital data – cables which are quite possibly also being tapped by the NSA and others. This year Paglen’s work was included in Manifesta 11, Electronic Superhighway at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and L’image volée (The Stolen Image) at Fondazione Prada in Milan, among others. In June he won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.