I am located in 37:47:36N 122:33:17W

Artist: Trevor Paglen

Art writer, Christopher Knight wrote an entry for his Los Angeles Times blog, Culture Monster, about artist Trevor Paglen last September. His work has been unforgettable since then. Chronicles of satellites and planes doing reconnaissance work in the night sky play an intriguing yet integral part in our collective understanding of our (militaristic) history. Paglen’s work is allegorical and shows how modern technology can affect our understanding of topics such as politics, economics, and the act of seeing. I find myself much more engaged with history than ever before through his illuminating (pun intended) work. It was great seeing an interview on dailyserving.com about his current show.

…the sublime arises from those moments where we can sense that we cannot sense let alone understand something. This brings us to the “aesthetic” dimension of the work….Historically, aesthetics has often been linked to notions of freedom: ambiguity and the sublime can be quite powerful and is something visual art can be quite good at dealing with. So it’s important to me that it’s a part of my work, but the underlying “relational” and ethical aspects of the work are crucially important. Without them, it’s just pretty pictures. And there’s no reason to care about pretty pictures. ~Trevor Paglen

The work seems simple to understand. They’re photographs. What’s so difficult about understanding a photograph? Nothing too distressing to the retina. Yet, Paglen’s work takes patience, knowledge of the landscape, as well a desire to comprehend our relationships to these vast landscapes. Meshed with his scientific background in geography, the work serves as a marker of the unnatural way in which human movement and action are surveyed.

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

1 thought on “I am located in 37:47:36N 122:33:17W”

  1. Nice! I’ve always loved pictures like this… I’m a bit of a sky watcher. In light of the recent shuttle launch, I’ve been tracking it online at http://www.n2yo.com/ where you can track virtually any satellite. These objects are so intriguing and give me chills just thinking about the science behind it all, mostly because my hometown is the birthplace of aviation (Wright Brothers). Great post Dorothy!

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