Episode 112: Trevor Paglen/ Pate Conaway

October 21, 2007 · Print This Article

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downloadTrevor Paglen

This week: Marc and Brian talk to Trevor Paglen.

“Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines in order to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us. His most recent projects involve close examinations of state secrecy, the California prison system, and the CIA’s practice of “extraordinary rendition.”

Paglen’s visual work has been shown in galleries and museums including MASSMOCA (2006), the Warhol Museum (2007), Diverse Works (2005), in journals and magazines from Wired to The New York Review of Books, and at numerous other arts venues, universities, conferences, and public spaces. He has had one-person shows at Deadtech (2001), the LAB (2005), and Bellwether Gallery (2006).

Paglen’s first book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights (co-authored with AC Thompson; Melville House, 2006) was the first book to systematically describe the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program. His second book, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me (Melville House, 2007) an examination of the visual culture of “black” military programs, will be published in November 2007. He is currently completing his third book, entitled Blank Spots on a Map, which will be published by Dutton/NAL/Penguin in late 2008/early 2009.

Paglen has received grants and commissions from Rhizome.org, the LEF Foundation, and the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology. In 2005, he was a Vectors Journal Fellow at the University of Southern California.

Paglen holds a BA from UC Berkeley, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently completing a PhD in the Department of Geography at the University of California at Berkeley.”

NEXT: Terri and Serena talk to Pate Conaway.

“Pate Conaway is an interdisciplinary artist from Chicago, Illinois. Conaway sees the act of art-making as a performance in itself. Conaway has produced art in gallery situations, including during a five-week stint at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago where he knitted a pair of nine-foot-long mittens. The artist, whose background is in performance and paper arts, continues to work in sculpture, installation, and interactive performance. Now learning to sew, Conaway is fascinated by the idea of applying garment construction techniques to bookbinding. Pate Conaway is a graduate of Chicago’s Second City Training Center and received his MFA from Columbia College, Chicago. He has exhibited extensively in the mid-west and his work can be found in the Artist Book Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.”

Also Richard horribly mispronounces Mr. Conaway’s name and gives a profound apology from one Richard Wholand.

AND Mike B. has a rant to offer.

Trevor Paglen
University of California, Berkeley
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Area 51
The Atlas Group
Bellwether Gallery
Cloud Gate
Mayor Daley
Damien Hirst
Pate Conaway
Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
Green Leaf Art Center
Margin Gallery
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_112_Paglen-Conaway.mp3

39 thoughts on “Episode 112: Trevor Paglen/ Pate Conaway”

  1. david roth says:

    I’ve listened to about half of this show, and so far it’s really interesting. I’m typically a little wary of work that is overly-intentional in it’s content, but this seems worth looking at.

    The production values of this show are pretty good as well.

  2. Richard says:

    I’m not sure what you are implying about production values the rest of the time…but thanks I guess…..

  3. Steve Hamann says:

    Although I have placed a self induced moratorium on blog comments (becasue they seem to bite me back in the ass lately) I want to wish the Hollands good luck!

  4. Richard says:

    Thanks man! Any minute now…

  5. david roth says:

    breath Richard – just breath.

    oh – two pieces of advice:

    1. when they offer the drugs – TAKE THEM, and
    2. if you’re at all squeamish, FOLLOW THE BABY

  6. duncan. says:

    Wait, I also want to hear of this mythical better produced non-professional podcast.

  7. david roth says:

    Well, for starters I won’t be needing to replace my speakers again. Good normalization.

  8. Richard says:

    The shows are always normalized as much as possible. We aren’t total amateurs.

    Follow the baby?

  9. david roth says:

    follow the baby.

  10. Richard says:

    Thanks to Pam, the kind BAS listener who e-mailed me to advise me what was meant by Follow the Baby. I suspect that this will be incredibly useful wisdom.

  11. FINALLY my 30 seconds (plus…) of hard work every 3 or 4 weeks gets acknowledged!

    Hey Richard- Pate Conaway’s 1st name is pronounced “Paddy” not “Paight.” Everyone make fun of Richard! Haa haaa! Come on! Everybody! Haaaa!

    Hey Tony F.– sorry I’ve not re-shown up. My head has been way WAY up my ass. Soon –> !?!

  12. Richard, you can Follow the Baby if you want. For a more interesting time, you can follow me…


  13. Richard says:

    Duncan I wish you’d quit sending me these sorts of messages. You are violating the restraining order.

    On the pronunciation tip, I meant to apologize for that, my bad.

  14. duncan. says:

    Sorry dude, not me, too busy to sexually harrass my co-workers today.

    Don’t follow the baby. Taste life.

  15. David Roth says:

    Hey Duncan – ever seen Alien?

  16. I agree with Duncan -taste life- don’t “Follow the Baby”. After all, your going to be following it for at least the next18 years anyway.

  17. Richard says:

    This from two guys who don’t have kids, nor have kids on the immediate horizon.

    I can happily lead a placenta birthing free life.

  18. Richard says:

    Please vote in the baby name poll…

  19. David Roth says:

    My top picks:

    1. Spock Holland
    2. Ricky Ricardo Holland
    3. Horace Holland
    4. Marcel Duchamp Holland

    1. Brunetta Holland
    2. Eliza Doolittle Holland
    3. Hortense Holland
    4. Marcella Duchamp Holland

    Follow the baby…

  20. Richard says:

    It’s a boy. Marcel was bandied about, and Jasper (as in Johns, as Sarah just spent months working on the catalog for the AIC show).

  21. David Roth says:

    Is Pookie out of the running? David? Dickie? Buford? Beauregard?

  22. Bill Dolan says:

    Since Sue wasn’t a choice, I picked Max. I like the historical family tribute. Good luck and congratulations!

  23. Steve Hamann says:

    How about

    “Duncan Holland”?


    “Chewbacca Holland”

    Wait, don’t use that one. I’m saving it for my next child.

  24. tony fitzpatrick says:

    How about …. Dutch Holland ?

  25. David Roth says:

    “How about …. Dutch Holland ?”

    OK, FUCK. That’s just solid gold.

  26. Canadan says:

    let me mull this one over…Wait…MULL HOLLAND?

  27. Richard says:


    was in the running once.

  28. Richard says:

    As was Dutch.

  29. David Roth says:

    you must be joking. in any event, congrats and best of luck. I trust mother and son are doing well.

  30. Richard says:

    Well but waiting, she is due the 27th and we are minutes away from labor.

  31. Hang in there!

    Like Charles Wilson Peale, one of the first US painters and the founder of the first US museum (and one of the first museums in the world), you could name all your kids after famous painters. In your case, Dutch/Northern ones of course. Rembrandt Holland, Vermeer Holland, Van Eyck Holland, Van Gogh Holland, DeKooning Holland, Little Dutch Boy Paint Holland.

  32. Why not the surname first, such as

    Holland Oats?

    or Holland Tunnel?

  33. Lou Albano says:

    you should name them all after Dutch cities:
    start with The Hague,
    so your kid can have a first name of “The”
    just like The Shark

  34. TheShark says:

    How about after a really expensive tube of paint?

    Old Holland

  35. David Roth says:

    Not to detract from the Baby Holland, but is anyone going to discuss the show? I liked the bits about the patches myself – very interesting.

  36. Ann Onymous says:

    It was probably the best sounding piece from Brian and Marc to date.

  37. I finally listened to the whole thing (as I have written in the past, I usually do this on Friday mornings, so I’m late to the discussion as usual).

    It was great. There are many strong points, most of all I would like to highlight and compliment Paglen’s approach to theory. Being an intellectual, but an independent one. He saw that he wanted to use theory, but sought out his own arena and thinkers, ones who spoke to him, ones OUTSIDE the mandatory small circle of nihilistically-interpreted deconstructivists, those enforced by the academy.

    I think even if geology doesn’t interest you as a model, this model of seeking one’s own philosphers, so to speak, is a fabulous one that should be encouraged in artists and art students, especially intellectually-oriented ones. It would be a GREAT model for teachers to follow. There are many many many creative, exciting thinkers out there in many fields, not just Derrida & Co. (although I love literary theory, but by many others). Good job, and good job on bringing that out Brian and Marc.

    I thooughly enjoyed hearing about Conaway’s approach too — a kind of quasi-surrealist, critical-and-yet-embracing, process: find a, perhaps neglected, technical process and then lightly change some aspect of it until it becomes a startling artwork.

    Both artists offer ways to extend and rediscover certain types of thought that appeared liberating in early Conceptual Art, yet were abandoned in favor of a very illustrational, closed-circle, ironic versions of Neo-Con. This is “conceptually based” art with an evocative and stimulating edge.

  38. Oops. GeoGRAPHy not Geology. Isn’t anybody else going to comment on the show itself?

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