Trevor Paglen – Deep State
May 28 – July 9 2017

Trevor Paglen's exhibition, Deep State, at Kunsthalle Winterthur, comprises works from the last ten years of his career. Before global surveillance became a hotly debated public discussion, marked perhaps by Edward Snowden's NSA whistleblowing revelations, Paglen had long been interested in the activities of governmental surveillance and security services and had been investigating them through his work mainly in photography and video. Contrary to the contributions of the many other artists working in this field, Paglen’s work does not provide a socio-critical analysis or comment, but focuses instead on the observation of various organisations and services that are busy observing us. Whether it be a drone depicted as a tiny spot in front of a dramatic vista of clouds, a listening station surrounded by vast security zones, a data cable emerging  onshore somewhere unspecified, or a light trail of a spy satellite across a nocturnal sky, what Paglen's work makes evident is that each observation or surveillance system is executed and implemented by an observer; be it a human being or a technical device, their existence will often leave visible traces. As a result of thorough Internet research and a logical combination of free and accessible data found there, Paglen identifies such traces and gives them a prominent platform in his works. In other works, Paglen makes apparent the rather paradoxical tendency of hidden and covert monitoring and spying agencies to show off with representational features; absurd names and carefully designed badges for secret groups and agencies circulate on the internet; many of the buildings that house these organisations are massive architectural complexes impossible to overlook, and are familiar to us in the same way as the Kremlin or the White House. Trevor Paglen's work does not aim to tell us the who, what or why of being surveyed; he concentrates on a much more fundamental statement that may seem modest yet utterly self-confident and perhaps even empowering and defiant: We know that you are observing us, and we observe you doing so.  
Marktgasse 25
8400 Winterthur
052 267 51 32
Mi – Fr  12 – 18 h
Sa – So  12 – 16 h