Trevor Paglen, intrepid geographer of weird spaces

Artist/geographer Trevor Paglen of UC Berkeley physically and conceptually "maps" hotspots of clandestine military activity in the western United States. The San Francisco Bay Guardian's AC Thompson joined Paglen for a jaunt to Area 51:

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I met Paglen about 10 years ago when we were both hanging out at East Bay punk gigs. He's still got a punkish edge, favoring dark jeans and cowboy boots and punctuating many of his comments with slang and obscenities. All this camouflages, to some degree, his eclectic braininess: Before pursuing geography, Paglen earned degrees in religious studies (with a minor in musical composition) and art. As you read this, the Lab, a San Francisco gallery, is displaying Paglen's solo show "Recording Carceral Landscapes," a chilling commentary on California's leviathan prison system.

In addition to his academic explorations, Paglen also gives informal tours of classified America, journeying to places like the Tejon Ranch Radar Cross Section range (where Northrop tests bleeding-edge aircraft), the headquarters of Science Applications International Corp. (the no-profile defense contractor tapped to set up a TV propaganda network in Iraq), the San Diego docks that are home to the Sea Shadow (a classified Naval watercraft), and the Classic Bullseye listening station (a heavily guarded collection of National Security Agency eavesdropping equipment, image left).