Trevor Paglen: Weeping Angel
SPACE is proud to raise artist Trevor Paglen’s flag, Weeping Angel as part of Creative Time's Pledges of Allegiance project.
Paglen’s flag features a weeping angel surrounded by code. Weeping Angel is the name for a hacking tool that the CIA reportedly developed to spy on citizens, in which internet-connected TVs would be retooled to be in a fake “off” mode but covertly send recordings back. The angels may also reference sci-fi villains from the Dr. Who series, or a term from quantum physics describing entities that cease to exist if one attempts to observe them.
Weeping Angel is part of Pledges of Allegiance, a serialized commission of sixteen flags created by sixteen acclaimed artists to reflect the current political climate. Paglen’s flag is the tenth installment of the series, which has has grown from two to eighteen partner locations since Creative Time initiated the project in June 2017. Creative Time previously worked with Paglen on The Last Pictures, a project that launched hundreds of images on an ultra-archival disc into geosynchronous orbit around Earth.
Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Most recently, he was named a 2017 MacArthur "Genius" Fellow for his intellectual and artistic contributions and in support of his ongoing research and human rights activism in the age of mass surveillance. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. He is currently the artist-in-residence at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.
Pledges of Allegiance is a nationwide public art project by Creative Time. The project is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by acclaimed contemporary artists: Tania Bruguera, Alex Da Corte, Jeremy Deller, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ann Hamilton, Robert Longo, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Vik Muniz, Jayson Musson, Ahmet Ögüt, Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Nari Ward.
Each flag embodies art’s ability to channel political passion, providing a unifying symbol around which to unite, as well as a call-to-action for institutions nationwide to raise upcoming Pledges of Allegiance flags in solidarity with Creative Time. Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions, beginning with an urgent articulation of the political demands of the moment. Each flag points to an issue the artist is passionate about or a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively as a country. To inaugurate the project, Creative Time raised Marilyn Minter’s RESIST FLAG on the roof of its headquarters on Flag Day, June 14.
Pledges of Allegiance was originally conceived by Alix Browne and developed in collaboration with Cian Browne, Fabienne Stephan, and Opening Ceremony.
Paglen's Weeping Angel will be on the flag pole at eighteen cultural institutions and universities across thirteen states: California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Texas.
Weeping Angel by Trevor Paglen, Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli Courtesy of Creative Time