Creative Time has been buzzing with anticipation for their Trevor Paglen initiative to launch 100 photos representing the modern history of man into outer space, to float in Earth’s orbit ’till the end of planet’s existence. As of this afternoon, The Last Pictures was successfully completed, despite Werner Herzog’s burns during a panel discussion held this past September in Bryant Park. Communications satellite EchoStar XVI launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:15 this afternoon, carrying aboard an archival disk with Paglen’s top 100 selects.
Paglen’s intent was to preserve the current human identity through these open-ended images, which is where he and Herzog didn’t see eye to eye. “That’s the beauty of your project. It’s meant for us. There will never be an alien coming by,” Herzog said, pointing out the somewhat narcissistic aspect of the concept of an alien finding and recognizing Paglen’s archive in the very distant future. Let’s call it “ambitious” instead.
The project has been in production for a year. Paglen collaborated with experts in both artistic and scientific fields during his image selection process, as well as the materials engineers and astronomers at Carleton College and MIT, where Paglin was doing his residence. The process was extensively documented and is available to audiences in two formats, as a book entitled The Last Pictures and a short documentary which can be viewed here.
The launch of the satellite was broadcast live and can now be viewed as a webcast. Be warned, unlike the launch of Mars Curiosity Rover, this event had less mohawked NASA dreamboats and more over-rehearsed astronomers bitter over space program budget cuts.
(Photo: Creative Time)