Sunday, December 7, 2014

Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures

Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures
(link)
The art trope of highlighting the discrepancy between surface depiction and the latent content; Paglen’s I-spy photographics, making spectacular-banal photographs that await the moment of their reveal: finding the tiny dot denoting drones that mar the expensive print of skies, or the anonymous building turning out to be a possible “black site” discovered by the artist, or this exhibition's nonsensical phrases revealed as government code names. Unlike Christopher Williams, for whom the endless textual production surrounding the photographs acts like a spigot draining the privilege of the visible, Paglen’s photographs make visible something meaningful that is ultimately meaningless, there’s nothing to be done with this information, these absurd names, but watch them pass like a poisoned and interminable river, a discrepancy affective but belittling. Having more to do with art than politics. You’ve found Waldo, but you’ll never get to shake his hand.