Taking the idea of “public art” to a new level, Creative Time will send an archival disk into eternal orbit on September 19th, 2012. The silicon wafer, set to launch from Bryant Park will attach itself to the communications satellite EchoStarXVI at distance of about 24,000 miles from Earth. A la Carl Sagan’s Voyager, “The Last Pictures” project contains 100 images selected by artist Trevor Paglen that represent “visual record of our contemporary history”. Paglen has spent 5 years collecting material from scientists, anthropologists, artists and philosophers in order to compile a comprehensive selection of photographs. He sourced images from various channels, including Flickr, Google images and National Geographic, and got some science dudes at MIT to micro-etch them onto a disc encased in a gold-plated shell. In an interview with the Times, Paglen desribes how the project took on a new life throughout the process, explaining “In the beginning I was thinking of this as an archive, then at the end I realized it was more like a silent film or poem”. The free public event will also feature talks by filmmaker Werner Herzog and poet Tracy K. Smith on “cultural artifacts, space exploration and the legacy of human civilization”.
“The Last Pictures” Trevor Paglen + Creative Time, Byrant Park, Sep 19