The Art of the Security State with Trevor Paglen

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By Lawfare Institute. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This week, Shane Harris speaks to artist Trevor Paglen, who explores themes of surveillance, security, and secrecy.


Shane first got to know Trevor’s work through his delightful and spooky book I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World. It’s a collection of patches and insignia used by secretive military units and classified programs. They’re interesting works of art in their own right. But they also use images and numbers to communicate a hidden meaning. Trevor has spent much of his time decoding those messages and turning them into visual art.


Trevor has turned secret code names into visual installations, tracked and photographed spy satellites as they crossed the night sky, and taken rare photographs of intelligence agency complexes and military installations. He told Shane about his career, as well as his days as a punk musician and his work in journalism.


Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo with engineering assistance from Ian Enright.


Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.


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Trevor Paglen’s website: https://paglen.studio/

I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: https://www.amazon.com/Could-Tell-Then-Would-Destroyed/dp/193555414X

From the Archives of Peter Merlin, Aviation Archaeologist https://www.amazon.com/Trevor-Paglen-Archives-Aviation-Archaelogist/dp/173209862X

ImageNet Roulette: https://excavating.ai/

Trevor’s photos of intelligence agencies https://theintercept.com/2014/02/10/new-photos-of-nsa-and-others/



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