They Watch the Moon, 2010, C-print © Trevor Paglen, Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco.
They Watch the Moon, 2010, C-print © Trevor Paglen, Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco.

TREVOR PAGLEN - Geographies of Seeing

Brighton Photo Biennial 2012

6 October – 4 November 2012
Lighthouse, Brighton

The secret activities of military and intelligence agencies are exposed through a stunning exhibition of photography.

Lighthouse is delighted to present a rare solo show by social scientist, artist, writer and provocateur, Trevor Paglen. His exhibition is part of the UK’s largest curated festival of photography, which this year explores how space is constructed, controlled and contested. Renowned for his investigations into the clandestine activities of the U.S. government, Paglen’s work deliberately blurs lines between science, contemporary art, journalism, and technology.

Untitled (Predators; Indian Springs, NV), 2010, C-print © Trevor Paglen, Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco.
Untitled (Predators; Indian Springs, NV), 2010, C-print © Trevor Paglen, Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco.

Geographies of Seeing, curated by Lighthouse and Brighton Photo Biennial, draws together a collection of Trevor Paglen’s celebrated photographic work which explores and documents hidden worlds. The exhibition is focussed on two bodies of work.

The Other Night Sky uses data from an international network of amateur satellite watchers to track and photograph classified spacecraft. Echoing the efforts of historic astronomers, Paglen documents astral movements that don’t officially exist.

In the series Limit Telephotography, Paglen adapted the super-strength telescopes normally used to shoot distant planets, to reveal top-secret U.S. governmental sites, sometimes 65 miles away from his camera; covert bases, so remote they cannot be seen by an unaided civilian eye from any point on Earth.

About the Artist
Trevor Paglen (born in 1974) is an American artist, geographer, and author, currently based in New York. He constructs unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us. He has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; the 2008 Taipei Biennial; the Istanbul Biennial 2009, and numerous other places.

Paglen coined the term “Experimental Geography” to describe practices coupling experimental cultural production and art-making with ideas from critical human geography about the production of space, materialism, and praxis. His work has received widespread attention for both his technical innovations and for his conceptual rigour.

He is also author of three books including Torture Taxi (2006), the first book to comprehensively describe the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me (2007), which is a look at top-secret military programmes, and Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, which is a broader look at secrecy in the United States.
Paglen is represented by Galerie Thomas Zander.

About Brighton Photo Biennial
Geographies of Seeing is part of Brighton Photo Biennial 2012. This year the Biennial brings a host of emerging and internationally acclaimed photographers and artists to the city. It is curated and produced by Photoworks, the UK’s leading visual arts agency for photography. It features work by Edmund Clark, Omer Fast, Julian Germain, Jason Larkin, Corinne Silva, Thomson and Craighead and more.

Brighton Photo Biennial 2012 examines a wide range of photographic practices and will reflect on The Politics of Space. It looks at how space is constructed, controlled and contested, how photography is implicated in these processes, and the tensions and possibilities this dialogue involves. It provides a critical space to think about relationships between the political occupation of physical sites and the production and dissemination of images.

Responding to recent efforts to politically re-imagine urban space through social and civic uses, Brighton Photo Biennial 2012 presents photography and imagery generated by professional photographers and the public at large; grassroots activism and media spectacle; established names and recent finds; contemporary work and older photographic practices. At the core of the biennial is a concern with the possibilities of photography as both a tool and a process: a means of understanding the world, and an active force in shaping it.

Geographies of Seeing by Trevor Paglen is accompanied by a series of talks and events responding to the wider themes of the Biennial:

- Whose Streets? – screenings on 6-7 October
- Lunchtime tour of Trevor Paglen’s show, 11 October
- Make Your Own Zine – workshop for young people, 13 October
- Professional Practice Weekend, 13-14 October
- Family workshops, 20, 27 October
- Monthly Talk: Edmund Clark, BPB artist, 1 November

Dates: 6 October – 4 November 2012

Times: 11-6pm, daily

Late night opening: Friday 2 November 2012, 11am-10.30pm

Venue: Lighthouse, 28 Kensington St, Brighton, BN1 4AJ

Group visits: Capacity to Geographies of Seeing is limited. If you want to visit the exhibition with a group larger than 10, please make a booking with the operations team at Lighthouse, by emailing:

Press coverage:

New Yorker Magazine:
Trevor Paglen makes art out of government secrets – by Jonah Weiner
Trevor Paglen Slideshow of works

Eye Magazine: Geographies of Seeing by Trevor Paglen

They Watch The Moon by Wendy McMurdo for photography blog Foam Amsterdam

Brighton Biennial & Fringe Highlights by Laura Nobel, Director of Diemar/Noble Photography Gallery, London

War At The Speed Of Light by Nicola Triscott, cultural producer, writer and blogger

For more about Brighton Photo Biennial 2012 visit:




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