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Unseen Skies follows Trevor Paglen, one of the 21st century’s most visionary artists, during the final stretch of his decade long journey to put a work of art into space. Director, writer and producer Yaara Bou Melhem, the two-time UN Media Peace Award-winning filmmaker and investigative journalist, goes behind the lens on Paglen’s intercontinental trek to launch the first ever non-militarized satellite into space with the goal of deploying a 30-metre mirrored balloon into earth’s orbit visible with the naked eye from earth.
Having achieved international notoriety for his conceptual art which fuses photography, large-scale events and what he calls “impossible objects which chart an alternative vision of our reality,” Paglen’s work reveals the largely unseen monolithic power structures of technology and surveillance that shape, impact and increasingly define the everyday framework of our lives.
A MacArthur Genius award winner, and best-selling author, Paglen is perhaps best known for his photography documenting the black ops sites of government surveillance and data collection. Also, a geographer and a former punk rock musician, his unprecedented creative undertaking to deploy Orbital Reflector into space and his singular other genre-defying art is deftly revealed in the film by Bou Melhem who brings to light the urgency of the global impact of technology in the 21st century and its adverse effects on our anonymity and privacy. Unseen Skies is a glimpse into a reality that exists in plain sight but goes largely unseen and undetected.
Participant and Screen Australia present in association with Screen NSW an In Films production, Unseen Skies, written, produced and directed by Yaara Bou Melhem. Executive producers are Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann, along with In Films’ Ivan O’Mahoney and Nial Fulton. The Director of Photography is Tom Bannigan, ACS; the Composer is Helena Czajka; the Editor is Francisco Forbes.
Unseen Skies is rated PG (mild themes) will be screened on the Big Screen at Fed Square on 20 July, from 6pm.