Photographs of forbidden places

“Chemical and Biological Weapons Proving Ground; Dugway, UT; Distance ~ 42 miles; 10:51 A.M.” (2006).

Great profile on Trevor Paglen—an artist I never heard of before—in The New Yorker this week. He photographs drones, secret military bases, and other top-secret locales.

Here’s an overview of his upcoming The Last Pictures series:

The Last Pictures is a project that marks one of these spacecraft with a visual record of our contemporary historical moment. Paglen spent five years interviewing scientists, artists, anthropologists, and philosophers to consider what such a cultural mark should be. Working with materials scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Paglen developed an artifact designed to last billions of years—an ultra-archival disc, micro-etched with one hundred photographs and encased in a gold-plated shell. In Fall 2012, the communications satellite EchoStar XVI will launch into geostationary orbit with the disc mounted to its anti-earth deck. While the satellite’s broadcast images are as fleeting as the light-speed radio waves they travel on, The Last Pictures will remain in outer space slowly circling the Earth until the Earth itself is no more.