As cyber threats increasingly push security efforts into virtual realms, Trevor Paglen’s work examines the many facets of government intelligence. Installed in a building that once served as home to the 902nd Military Intelligence Group — in a vault that housed classified documents — Operation Onymous (FBI Investigation of the Silk Road) invokes the motif of an FBI challenge coin, a cryptic medallion recognizing an agent’s affiliation with the organization; the coin featured here was given to those who aided the takedown of the notorious Silk Road darknet market in San Francisco. Code Names of the Surveillance State presents a scrolling list of more than 4,000 code names used by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) for surveillance programs.
- Installation Views
Trevor Paglen uses his training as a photographer and geographer to explore the worlds of government intelligence and surveillance. He describes his efforts on the periphery of government secrecy as an important exercise: “If you don’t flex those rights, they go away.” His work has been exhibited internationally, earning such honors as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.