In the late 19th century, Russian Cosmists such as Nikolai Fyodorov believed we need to go to space to collect all the particles of all the people who had ever lived. Cosmism says going into space is going into the past.
What I thought was fascinating about comparative religion was that these were the stories that humans have told themselves about where they come from, who they are and where they're going, and what it means to be alive on the planet.
Photographs don't 'reveal' much at all but instead help us generate a kind of visual vocabulary that we can use to make sense of the world and direct our attention to certain things around us. In other words, they help us learn how to see.
I think that some of the earliest ideas in the modern period were actually from astronomy. You look at Galileo: He goes up and points his telescope up at Jupiter and finds out, hey, Jupiter has these moons.
Infrastructures of power always inhabit the surface of the earth somehow, or the skies above the earth. They're material things, always, and even though the metaphors we use to describe them are often immaterial - for example, we might describe the Internet as the Cloud or cyberspace - those metaphors are wildly misleading.
Show me what society that ever existed that did not use the tools that they had available. Ask any person from East Germany... you will never hear somebody say, 'The Stasi never bothered me because I didn't have anything to hide.' That's not a thing that people say.
In human geography, we think about landscapes as being political, social, cultural, economic, and physical things all at the same time. And that's the way that I wanted to approach the question of state secrecy.
American intelligence and military agencies have a huge footprint in terms of how the world works, but they're largely invisible. I'm interested in exploring those 'geographies' of secrecy from many different angles: political, legal, economic, spatial, etc., because I am fundamentally just interested in how the world works and how societies work.
Photography has become so fundamental to the way we see that 'photography' and 'seeing' are becoming more and more synonymous. The ubiquity of photography is, perhaps ironically, a challenge to curators, practitioners, and critics.
In a democracy, the citizens are supposed to have all the power, and the government is supposed to be the means by which the citizens exercise that power. But when you have a surveillance state, the state has all the power, and citizens have very little.
Creating artworks, writing and publishing novels, poetry, music, or conducting art-historical research requires support. So does everything else in the world, from physics to fish and wildlife management to human-rights advocacy.
I would say that the fundamental question of geography is about how humans shaped the Earth's surface and how we, in turn, are shaped by the ways in which we have shaped the Earth's surface. So, for me, geography was just a set of tools that allowed me to ask these kinds of questions and to try to think through them.
Perhaps 'photography' has become so all-pervasive that it no longer makes sense to think about it as a discreet practice or field of inquiry. In other words, perhaps 'photography,' as a meaningful cultural trope, is over.
Traditionally, images have functioned as representations of something in the world, but we are quickly approaching the point where vast majority of images are produced for other machines, and no human being will ever see them.
In the very near future, I guarantee that the pictures you post on social media will affect your credit rating, health and auto insurance policies, and much more. It will all happen automatically. In a very real way, our rights and freedoms will be modulated by our metadata signatures. What's at stake, obviously, is the future of the human race!
Digital surveillance programs require concrete data centres; intelligence agencies are based in real buildings. Surveillance systems ultimately consist of technologies, people, and the vast network of material resources that supports them.