Trevor Paglen is the subject of Yaara Bou Melhem’s documentary, which follows the artist as he develops several projects, including Orbital Reflector and Sight Machine, works that extend his oeuvre of inquiries into government surveillance and secrecy. Paglen and his processes—which span a technological spectrum from 19th-century photographic methods to artificial intelligence—are revealed in sequences that explore his motivation to make art that both incorporates and elucidates the threats hidden in otherwise constructive tools of innovation and enterprise, from cameras to trains to spacecraft.
In harmony with Paglen’s ideas and aesthetics, the film employs intricate visual effects and deft landscape cinematography to underscore high-concept endeavors that are both informed by and wary of the uses of technology. As Paglen tells us, “Art teaches people how to see”; Unseen Skies brings the artist’s work even further into focus. TM
Filmmaker Q&A available
Closed captioning available
This film is only available to viewers in the United States
Yaara Bou Melhem
Yaara Bou Melhem, Ivan O’Mahoney
Diane Weyermann, Jeff Skoll, Nial Fulton, Ivan O’Mahoney