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Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures

The last monuments to the human race will not be the great Pyramids of Giza or the cave paintings at Lascaux but the satellites that circle Earth.  Long after we and everything we’ve we have created are is gone, our space junk will continue to orbit our planet.  Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures is based on the premise that these satellites will ultimately become the ruins of humanity that future space alien visitors will find.


After four years of interviews with scientists, philosophers, anthropologists, and artists, Trevor Paglen developed a collection of one hundred images to represent our contemporary civilization. Paglen, as an artist in residence at MIT, worked with scientists to develop an ultra-archival disc for these images.  The disc is capable of lasting in space for billions of years.  Finally, in September 2012, the television satellite EchoStar XVI lifted off with this selection of images etched onto a golden silicon disc, entered orbit and began broadcasting images.  The satellite will power down when it nears the end of its broadcasting life.  Nevertheless, it will continue orbiting the Earth among the ring of machines that will become the longest living monuments to human civilization, until, billions of years from now, the Sun will expand into a red giant and engulf it.  

The 100 images included in Trevor Paglen’s newest book, The Last Pictures, a hardcover exhibition catalog published by Creative Time Books in conjunction with the project, are those that were selected by the artist for the EchoStar XVI.  This selection seems more critical than it would have been had the images been chosen for the book alone. These images will out live us, our race, and almost everything else we have created.

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Posted 1 year ago and has 7 notes
#Trevor Paglen #The Last Pictures #Liz Sales #BiblioFile Friday