Trevor Paglen Interview: The Meaning of an Image

“Images are incredibly strange things that have no inherent meaning at all.”

“Images are incredibly strange things that have no inherent meaning at all.” In this video, the American “ground-breaking investigative artist” Trevor Paglen discusses the significance of images, which he considers opportunities to think about how the world is changing.

We all carry our own meaning, “interpretive framework” and histories to an encounter with images, Paglen argues, and so “the meaning of images is perhaps a kind of meeting point between what an audience brings to it, and what is in the image itself… and perhaps what the artist brings to it.” For Paglen, creating an environment for those encounters to happen is a big part of what art is.

Trevor Paglen (b. 1974) is an American artist, whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Paglen has had solo exhibitions at e.g. Vienna Secession in Vienna, Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt am Main and Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven. He has also participated in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and Tate Modern in London. In col-laboration with Creative Time and MIT, Paglen has launched an artwork into distant orbit around Earth. Furthermore, he has created a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan. In 2014, Paglen received the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award for his work as a “ground-breaking investigative artist.” For more see:

Trevor Paglen was interviewed at his studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen in August 2018.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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