Trevor Paglen

Artist-investigator blending art, journalism, geography and science

Part of the criteria for inclusion on this list is that one’s influence be felt all over the world. Paglen thinks bigger than that: if all goes to plan, he’ll be taking his career into space. Or at least Earth’s low orbit, into which he will launch a satellite – a reflective, faceted polyester inflatable – visible at night, from Earth, for approximately eight weeks in the summer of 2018. The $1.3m project, which was announced this year, is being billed as the first space sculpture and utilises the kind of military technology that Paglen’s work has long critiqued. Paglen’s work – which addresses issues of privacy and surveillance by governments and private companies – was shown in myriad group shows this year, as well as two solo exhibitions, at Metro Pictures, New York, and Fotograf Gallery, Prague. He was shortlisted for next year’s Artes Mundi prize and, in October, was made a MacArthur Fellow.