Trevor Paglen Takes Home Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize

He has long focused on government secrecy and surveillance.

trevor-paglen-8-22-2014
Trevor Paglen. Courtesy of Creative Time

Artist, photographer, filmmaker and activist Trevor Paglen has been awarded the 2016 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize, which carries a purse of £30,000 ($44,000).

Paglen won for “The Octopus,” a show he staged in 2015 at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, in Frankfurt, Germany. The show included photographs of restricted military and government areas, photos showing the flight paths of unmanned aerial vehicles, and sculptures.

“The jury recognised Trevor Paglen’s project The Octopus for its significant contribution to current issues that deal with the disquieting impact of the unseen aspects of technology on our daily lives,” said Brett Rogers, chair of the prize jury and director of the Photographers’ Gallery, London.

Paglen beat out the other shortlisted artists, Laura El-Tantawy, Erik Kessels, and Tobias Zielony, who each are awarded £3,000.

Trevor Paglen, <i>They Watch the Moon</i>, 2010. Courtesy the artist.

Trevor Paglen, They Watch the Moon, 2010. Courtesy the artist.

The artist has long been focused on government secrecy and surveillance. He led a scuba-diving mission off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during Art Basel in Miami Beach 2015, to see the transatlantic fiber-optic cables that carry information to Internet users and that are surveilled by government agencies. He’s also been honored with prizes including the Electronic Frontier Foundation Award.

Trevor Paglen on a scuba-diving mission. Photo Bill Lamp'l.

Trevor Paglen on a scuba-diving mission. Photo Bill Lamp’l.

Also on the jury were David Drake, director of Ffotogallery, Cardiff; artist Alfredo Jaar; Hague Museum of Photography senior curator Wim van Sinderen; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, curator of the Deutsche Börse collection.

“The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016” is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery until July 3, 2016; it will travel to the Deutsche Börse headquarters, The Cube, in Frankfurt/Eschborn, September 2-October 28, 2016.


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