Saturday, April 04, 2009

This morning

I'm in a cafe in the Mission, sitting toward the front. It's a dimly lit cafe that's very quiet and comforting on a bright, cold morning. In the back there's a twelve-step meeting going on. "See, chronic alcoholics -- they don't know. One day they'll know but not today." They spell out Roman numerals that denote sections of their scripture: "That's X-X-V-I?" "No, it's X-X-X-V."

This morning I'm going to the SFMOMA to meet artist and writer Trevor Paglen and interview him.
Here's the interview on
Paglen may be best known because of his appearance several months ago on "The Colbert Report" talking about his short book about the unit patches worn by people working on secret military projects, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. He's also the author of "Blank Spots on the Map," a geographical approach to the black world of secret military projects, and co-author of Torture Taxi, about the Bush administration's uncharted rendition air flights.

But he's not just an author and academic -- he is in the geography department at UC Berkeley -- but a photographer whose work is hanging at both SFMOMA and the Altman Siegel Gallery in SF. His photographs, many of which use what he calls "Limit Telephotography" or the practice of taking very long-range telephoto pictures, peek into places you're not supposed to see and pick out needles -- secret surveillance satellites -- in the haystack of the night sky.

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