Why Are Pictures of Space So Powerful?

02 Aug, 2022

Why Are Pictures of Space So Powerful?

Trevor Paglen spoke with VICE Magazine about both the techical aspects and aesthetic experience, amongnst other topics, of the recently released NASA photos in an article titled "Why Are Pictures of Space So Powerful?"

From the article:

These images, like space itself, provoke questions on a subjective level even as they provide answers on a scientific one. What makes the whorls and flashes of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first public dispatch so moving? Why do images of space resonate with us at all? Instead of turning these questions over until worn smooth in the rock tumbler of my mind, I talked to Trevor Paglen, an artist and geographer who uses the medium of photography to consider the sky, space, and human passage through both. Paglen has used telescopes while photographing sites and technologies classified by the U.S. government (think drones and Area 51) in his work on the surveillance state. He’s also a MacArthur genius who has literally launched his work into space on multiple occasions; a temporary satellite reflective enough to be visible from Earth, and a disk etched with 100 images, including cityscapes, people dancing, and Trotsky’s brain, designed to orbit our planet permanently and explain the essence of humanity to whoever visits it after we’re gone. We spoke about why the color of star stuffs matters, NASA’s place in the U.S. popular imagination, and the human impulse to look to the sky for answers.

Read the article here!