For this exhibition Trevor Paglen won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016.
Opening: June 19, 2015, 7 pm (as part of the opening of the RAY 2015 Triennial at MMK Frankfurt).
8.30 pm at Frankfurter Kunstverein: Trevor Paglen will announce the winner of the Eagle-Eye Photo Contest.
Together with American artist Trevor Paglen (born 1974 in Maryland, USA), the Frankfurter Kunstverein has developed a comprehensive exhibition entitled “The Octopus”, which deals with topics such as surveillance and political influence. On view were intensely colorful, often blurred photos of landscapes in the era of big data, image series of military places and secret surveillance techniques, video works along with extensive materials and documents from Paglen’s investigatory research practice. The sculpture Autonomy Cube, an open Wi-Fi hotspot, illustrated together with "Eagle-Eye Photo Contest: Landscapes of Surveillance," a photo competition created for the exhibition and open to the public, Paglen’s new artistic approach: he would like his work to trigger actions that have an influence on society and that reach out beyond the institutional spaces of art into the real world. The winning photographs of the contest have been presented in the exhibition.
A researcher and cinematographer in the team for the documentary Citizenfour directed by Laura Poitras about the Snowden affair that won an Oscar in 2015, Trevor Paglen has received the cultural prize of the German Photographic Association (DGPh) for his work at the Frankfurter Kunstverein on June 21, 2015.
The exhibition took place within the RAY 2015 Photography Projects Frankfurt Rhine/Main and was also a collaboration with the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. The media partner was the Journal Frankfurt.
Together with the exhibition Thomas Feuerstein: PSYCHOPROSA (May 29 – August 30, 2015) this exhibition was part of the summer program 2015 at Frankfurter Kunstverein that focuses on monographic artistic positions that raise socially relevant topics in the broader context of art and science, and took another look at realities in today’s society and what they can be in the future. Both exhibitions have been discussed in a broader manner in the context of an extensive accompanying program of panel talks, expert presentations, excursions and guided tours.
Curator: Franziska Nori
The Eagle-Eye Photo Contest: Landscapes of Surveillance is a contest like no other. Instead of pretty landscapes, we call on photographers, artists and the general public to explore and photograph the landscapes of surveillance in contemporary Germany. From American NSA and German BND bases in our midst to the secret spy gear on US Embassies and Consulates, the Eagle-Eye Photo Contest will focus on the landscapes of surveillance that are all around us. From March 22nd until May 31st, the Eagle-Eye Photo Contest called upon photographers, artists and the general public to use their cameras as both a tool for documentation and investigation: to detect, document and visualize the known and the unknown, the beautiful, the curious, the threatening, and the everyday through the use of photography.
From reports, analysis and documents provided by Edward Snowden, people living in Germany have learned quite a lot about the extent of international spying on German citizens and communications. The NSA collects German internet traffic from the Tailored Access Operations out of bases like the “Dagger Complex” in Griesheim (nearby Frankfurt am Main) and infiltrates German telecoms like Stellar to spy on their networks. It also partners with the BND to collect radio signals at Bad Aibling and Augsburg in Southern Germany, and listens in on politicians’ telephone conversations using powerful radio detectors at US Embassies. Although we have learned much about surveillance activities in Germany over the last two years, we still have very few photographs of what these infrastructures actually look like.
A jury of experts (Trevor Paglen – American artist, Franziska Nori – director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Ditmar Schädel – chairman of the German Photographic Association (DGPh), Nils Bremer – chief editor of the Journal Frankfurt, and Luminita Sabau – former director of the art collection of DZ Bank and Spokesperson of RAY Fotografieprojekte) have selected the photo competition’s five best entries. The five winners are Florian Freier, Kerstin Matijasevic, Alessandra Schnellnegger, Dieter Schwer and Julian Slagman. Trevor Paglen will present the winners with a certificate at 8.30 pm at the opening reception (June 19, 2015). The photographs will be featured in the exhibition Trevor Paglen: The Octopus and be published in the Journal Frankfurt.
The different artistic approaches with which the participants individually addressed the topic ultimately convinced the jury to honor five entries instead of three. Because of wide reception among international participants and the high quality of the submissions, the Frankfurter Kunstverein, together with the jury, has decided to present all of the other entries in a dossier in the exhibition.
For further information see: www.photocontest-eagle-eye.org