Trevor Paglen: The Last Pictures (2012)
Brought to you by Creative Time (the folks who organized Tom Sachs’ Space Program: Mars) comes The Last Pictures by Trevor Paglen. Paglen is a NYC-based artist-researcher plus conspiracy theorist and 2011 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum who “blurs disciplinary and formal borders to construct unfamiliar ways to see and interpret the world around us.” Here’s a blurb from Creative Time’s project description:
For nearly five years, artist Trevor Paglen interviewed scientists, artists, anthropologists, and philosophers to consider what such a cultural mark should be. As an artist in residence at MIT, he worked with materials scientists to develop an ultra-archival disc of images, capable of lasting in space for billions of years.
In September 2012, the television satellite EchoStar XVI will lift off from Kazakhstan with the disc attached to its anti-earth deck, enter a geostationary orbit, and proceed to broadcast over ten trillion images over its fifteen-year lifetime. When it nears the end of its useful life, EchoStar XVI will use the last of its fuel to enter a slightly higher “graveyard orbit,” where it will power down and die. While EchoStar XVI’s broadcast images are destined to be as fleeting as the light-speed radio waves they travel on, The Last Pictures will continue to slowly circle Earth until the Earth itself is no more.