Trevor Paglen blurs the lines between art, science and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling ways to see and interpret the world around us. His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions and biennales worldwide. Recent solo exhibitions were presented in a.o. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2019), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C (2018) and Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2018). He lives and works in Berlin.
His work, Image Operations, is a video of four musicians performing Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, op. 10. As the performance proceeds, the perspective slowly changes from that of a camera, to that of an array of computer vision systems ‘interpreting’ what the camera is seeing. At first, we see the action through simple face detection software. Later, we watch the performers through algorithms used in self-driving cars, guided missiles, drones and powerful artificial intelligence algorithms that estimate age, gender, and the emotional states of the performers. Examining the ‘styles’ of seeing these different systems use, Paglen questions the power structure reflected in their training sets and acknowledges that the underlying assumptions are far from neutral.