Trevor PaglenLauren Cornell, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Omar Kholeif

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The first complete monograph on an artist whose work investigates surveillance and government secrecy in the digital age

Trevor Paglen's art gives visual geography to hidden forces, relentlessly pursuing what he calls the 'unseeable and undocumentable' in contemporary society. Blending photography, installation, investigative journalism, and science, Paglen explores the clandestine activity of government and intelligence agencies, using high-grade equipment to document their movements and reveal their hidden inner workings. This book presents over three decades of Paglen's groundbreaking work, making visible the structures and technologies that impact our lives.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 290 × 250 mm (11 3/8 × 9 7/8 in)
  • Pages: 160 pp
  • Illustrations: 200 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714873442

Lauren Cornell is director of the graduate program and chief curator at the Hessel Museum of Art at CCS Bard, New York.

Julia Bryan-Wilson is professor in the Department of History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.

Omar Kholeif is an artist, curator, writer, and editor currently working as Manilow senior curator and director of global initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

"[Paglen's] diverse body of work highlights the clandestine activity of the state and intelligence agencies. A multidisciplinary approach defines his practice, comprising photography, installation, journalism and science... Emphasising the extensive reach of global information and data networks... As a whole, the pieces offer dialogues about the nature of public and private spheres in the 21st century... The book offers readers insight into the socio-political structures that define the everyday experience, establishing its importance to a broad spectrum of audiences."—Aesthetica

"As the latest subject of Phaidon's ever-expanding series of artist monographs, Trevor Paglen occupies a particularly political space... Paglen's subject matter is usually unseen only because there is someone out there who doesn't want it to be... An interview with Lauren Cornell maps out Paglen's rather unusual career trajectory... These experiences provide some background explanation of the subtle complexity of Paglen's photography... For Paglen, it is not simply enough to expose how these powers permeate society; one must also show a way to circumvent them."—Source (Northern Ireland)