The Last Pictures: Artist Sends the Human Race's Photographic Legacy Into Space

Friday, 07 November 2014 - 4:23PM
Space Imagery
Science Art
Friday, 07 November 2014 - 4:23PM
The Last Pictures: Artist Sends the Human Race's Photographic Legacy Into Space

What will be left of humanity after we're gone? That's the question New York artist Trevor Paglen attempted to answer in his recent project called "The Last Pictures," in which he imprinted humanity's photographic legacy onto a disc and sent it into space.

 

 

In the official synopsis for the book about the project, Paglen asserts that our legacy will be safest with our satellites, which will persist long after the human race has gone extinct.

 

[Credit: Creative Time] 

 

"Human civilizations' longest lasting artifacts are not the great Pyramids of Giza, nor the cave paintings at Lascaux, but the communications satellites that circle our planet. In a stationary orbit above the equator, the satellites that broadcast our TV signals, route our phone calls, and process our credit card transactions experience no atmospheric drag. Their inert hulls will continue to drift around Earth until the Sun expands into a red giant and engulfs them about 4.5 billion years from now."

 

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

In order to prevent the human race from disappearing without a trace, Paglen endeavored to choose one hundred photographs that serve as a microcosm for modern human history, or a "visual record of our contemporary historical moment." He spent five years interviewing scientists, artists, anthropologists, and philosophers in order to inform his choices and his overall attitude towards the project. He then micro-etched the pictures onto a silicon disc, and launched them onto an orbiting satellite. 

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

From the official description of the project: "These satellites are destined to become the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet. While the satellite's broadcast images are as fleeting as the light-speed radio waves they travel on, The Last Pictures will remain in outer space slowly circling the Earth until the Earth itself is no more."

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

[Credit: Creative Time]

 

Last Pictures

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