Trevor Paglen

September 12 - October 25, 2013.

Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 3), 2013, sculpture in progress. Courtesy: Protocinema, Istanbul; Artpace, San Antonio, TX; Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco; Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne. Photographed by Batu Tezyüksel

Opening: Thursday, September 12, 2013. 18:00-20:00

Exhibition: September 12 - October 25, 2013. 12:00-18:00, Wed-Sat
Dolapdere Cad. Küçük Akarca Sok. No:11 Kurtuluş

14th September 4.30 pm - Trevor Paglen in conversation with Anthony Downey, at SALT Beyoğlu

16th September 2:00 pm - Trevor Paglen with Defne Ayas at Art Istanbul International

Protocinema presents a new work by Trevor Paglen: Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 3), 2013, a 4-meter tall model for an orbital spacecraft. This work appropriates technologies normally associated with militarism and surveillance, asking them to do the opposite of their normal functions.

Developed in conversation with aerospace engineers, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 3) is a sculpture designed to be placed into low-earth orbit and reflect sunlight from space down to the earth's surface. Once launched it would appear as a bright point of light slowly moving across the sky over several months, before burning up in the atmosphere. This spacecraft-cum-art object combines maximum reflectivity with minimum weight, taking the shape of a giant mirror-like sphere.

In this work Paglen asks what aerospace engineering would look like if its methods were decoupled from the corporate and military interests underlying the industry. His nonfunctional satellite recasts the old question of "art for art's sake" within a different field, asking whether we can imagine something like "aerospace engineering for aerospace engineering's sake." In doing so, the spacecraft functions as both a critique of the militarization and commercialization of the night sky, and a way to imagine how things could be different.

For his first solo show in Turkey, Paglen responded to Protocinema's invitation by taking technologies of militarism and asking them to perform in a manner at odds with their conventional functions. In the current context of Dolapdere / Kurtuluş, Istanbul, Paglen's work opens up dialogue to the possibility of multiple, universal readings.


Trevor Paglen has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tate Modern, London; The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the 2008 Taipei Biennial; the 2009 Istanbul Biennial; the 2012 Liverpool Biennial, and numerous other solo and group exhibitions. He is the author of five books and many articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography, and visuality. His most recent book, The Last Pictures is a meditation on the intersections of deep-time, politics, and art.

Paglen has received grants and awards from the Smithsonian, Art Matters, Artadia, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the LUMA foundation, the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, and the Aperture Foundation. Paglen holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley. Trevor Paglen lives and works in New York.

Special thanks to: Artpace, San Antonio, TX, Amada Cruz; Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco; Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne; Ari Meşulam; Sasha Bauer; Bilge Öğüt and Haro Cumbuşyan; HG Masters, Özgür Demirci.

Founded in 2011, Protocinema is a nonprofit art organization that makes transnational, nomadic exhibitions in Istanbul and New York, with a Hands-on Education Program. For more information: Please contact Mari Spirito, +1 917 660 7332 or +90 541 468 0214, and visit us at

For press requests: Please contact Michael Hornsby, +90 531 594 8479.