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‘For my work it’s important to build this armature around images that is outside of the images. It helps them to be read in a deeper way. When I was in school there was the notion that if something was going to be good art, it had to be self-contained; that artwork always had to be placed within a frame. I’ve always felt that nothing can contain itself, that things are constantly being defined outside of a frame and are inevitably part of a larger system. Now, what would happen if you build out that aspect as part of a ‘meta-art’ project? It would mean writing books, and creating a whole constellation from other media to try to give people pathways into the art. For instance, I’ll do a big show on spy satellites, and then I’ll give a lecture explaining how to track spy satellites and what it is they do. In an ideal world I want to create an extended vocabulary people can use to navigate the different themes of an artwork. So I guess I’m the opposite of the artist that tries to hide something away – I’ll just go on and on about it…’

Trevor Paglen in our new issue mono.kultur #44