Mapping the War on Terror: Social Design and Trevor Paglen

Jonathan Crowe at the Map Room notes that the Social Design website (see previous entry) has another entry in its "Mapping the War on Terror" series. This one is a billboard mapping selected CIA flights of the process known as "extraordinary rendition" which is the process where the USA transports people for interrogation to foreign countries where torture is legal.

The billboards were made along with Trevor Paglen, a PhD student in geography Berkeley. Paglen presented at the AAG Philadelphia meetings a few years ago, in a session organized by Derek Gregory (UBC) on 9/11 and terror. Paglen engages in something called "limit telephotography" in which he gets as close as he can to secret military installations and takes pictures.

He compares this process to taking pictures of Jupiter (the same kind of equipment is involved), but more difficult:

The cliché “out of sight, out of mind” often applies to human activity. And this is why many interesting sites are in exceptionally remote areas, often buffered by miles of restricted land. Some sites are so well hidden or cordoned-off that they are simply impossible to see with the unaided eye.
Paglen's work appears in two recent books, one of the CIA flights called Torture Taxi, and one in an edited volume by Gregory and his colleague at Berkeley, Allan Pred.

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