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Trevor Paglen has created a series of non-functional satellites that are both sculptural and evocative of our relationship with Space and the politics that govern its colonization.

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Through his artistic research, Trevor Paglen (Camp Springs, Maryland, 1974) questions the social and political implications inherent in the creation of technological tools, a particuarlary hot topic in these present days. Developing in-depth studies merging both geographical exploration and artificial intelligence, Paglen’s works aim at revealing what is generally unseen. The works featuring in his latest solo exhibition, Unseen Stars, are no exception. 

 

"Unseen Stars" by Trevor Paglen at OGR, Turin. Courtesy of Flash--art.it

 

Curated by Ilaria Bonacossa and Valentina Lacinio, Unseen Stars was developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers and it inaugurated on October 10th, 2020 at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin. Trevor Paglen transforms the OGR into an aerospace laboratory: three "non-functional satellites" and a series of elevated structures - similar to the scaffolding on which technicians and engineers usually work - mark out the entire nave of Binario 1, giving life to an abstract space, whose highly theatrical and polyform lighting amplifies the splitting of the architecture reflected on the mirrored surfaces of the satellites.

 

"Unseen Stars" by Trevor Paglen at OGR, Turin. Courtesy of Expartibus

 

These objects would become sculptures in the night sky, visible from earth after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving star. The formal aspect of these sculptures articulates a response to the question of what aerospace engineering would look like if its methods were decoupled from the corporate and military interests.

The exhibition answers to Paglen's Space investigation on the relationship between contemporary art and science and it pushes the audience to "re-envision" Space as a place of possibility.

 

"Unseen Stars" by Trevor Paglen at OGR, Turin. Courtesy of OGR Turin.

 

"How would satellites appear to us if they were works of art, rather than military, commercial and scientific instruments?". Paglen's installations are stripped of their efficiency and their utilitarian implications. As Paglen himself says: "technologies, whether they are computers or satellites, are never neutral. There is always a whole world inside them. There are actions, when you use them, that are allowed and others that are forbidden".

 

Cover image: "Unseen Stars" by Trevor Paglen at OGR, Turin. Courtesy of OGR Turin.

Written by Giulia Cami

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

 

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