Friday, October 28, 2011

Trevor Paglen: 'Symbology'

Max sent me a link to this here, it's a project by Trevor Paglen that's part of this big graphic design show that's on at The Walker Art Centre at the moment. The show's called 'Graphic Design: Now in Production' and features a whole bunch of the usual suspects mostly – think 'Forms of Inquiry'... the 'Critical Design' gang. More about it here. I might come back and write something more about this exhibition? Maybe? I could I guess is my point. But really what I wanted to do was just store this particular project here as a reference for myself.

From what I can tell (off the Walker's blog) Paglen hasn't 'made' these patches, he's collected them. From "classified military and intelligence units". Which makes them all the more genuinely sinister. I was interested in these though because I have seen things like this before. A few years ago now, 2006 I think, I went to spend Xmas with a friend's family in Washington DC. I knew her dad had been in the military but I didn't know what exactly his role had been. Turns out he was a General and was in charge of ALL the nuclear missile bases throughout the 80s and during the thawing of the Cold War. Anyway he had all this nuclear missile memorabilia all over the house. Crazy shit, like models of the missles, photographs, bits of gear and uniforms etc. It was pretty interesting, but I didn't talk to her dad much because I found him pretty intimidating and also he was a pretty hard core Christian and I was worried I'd say something wrong. However he found out I was a graphic designer and one thing led to another and he ended up pulling out this hat – it's like a baseball cap sorta thing, a truckers cap, you know whit the spongy front. Anyway this hat is totally covered with all these little badges, and every single badge is like these patches here. Each badge represents a particular nuclear missile base, and each has some weird name or tag-line. And then he gave it to me! I didn't know what to do with the thing to be honest. It's been in a box for years. I don't have a photo of it, I'd kinda forgotten about it. But I really wanna dig it out now...

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