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Trevor Paglen, Artist and Geographer, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Blank Spots on a Map: State Secrecy and the Geography of Nowhere


September 17, 2007; 62 Minutes; Audio

Geographer and artist Trevor Paglen takes us on a road trip through the world of hidden budgets, state secrets, covert military bases, and disappeared people: through a landscape that military and intelligence insiders call the "black world." Over the course of his talk, Paglen leads us from "non-existent" Air Force and CIA installations in the Nevada desert to secret prisons in Afghanistan and to a collection of even more obscure "black sites" startlingly close to home. Using hundreds of images he has produced and collected over the course of his work, Paglen shows how the black world's internal contradictions give rise to a peculiar visual, aesthetic, and epistemological grammar with which to think about the contemporary moment.