Circles / Trevor Paglen

Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer prize­winner Laura Poitras’ acclaimed documentary about whistleblower Edward Snowden, CITIZENFOUR opens in UK cinemas on Friday Oct 17, 2014.

To coincide with this nationwide release Abandon Normal Devices and BRITDOC supported a new artwork, titled Circles from artist Trevor Paglen, which is a short rotating landscape film taking UK’s GCHQ as its focal point.

Trevor contributed to the cinematography of surveillance bases in CITIZENFOUR, and for many years has developed projects looking at the aesthetics of the invisible and the politics of secrecy.

Circles was preview at the ICA on 31 Oct 2014 and subsequently be released after at cinemas across the UK prior to screenings of CitizenFour.

The commission forms part of Abandon Normal Devices’ The Lost Hour programme and has continued to tour as part Networked Disruption, an exhibition curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli at Aksioma, Ljubljana and Drugo More, Rijeak.

About Trevor Paglen

Paglen contributed cinematography of surveillance bases to CITIZENFOUR. On October 18th this year, he gave a keynote talk at Frieze Masters entitled Aesthetics of the Invisible.  His commissioned piece for Art on the Underground An English Landscape (American Surveillance Base near Harrogate, Yorkshire) can currently be seen at Gloucester Road station.

Paglen holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Geography from UC Berkeley. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Secession, Vienna; Berkeley Art Museum; Kunsthall Oslo; and Kunsthalle Giessen, Germany. His work has been included in group shows at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, UK; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He participated in the 2009 Istanbul Biennial and 2012 Liverpool Biennial and 2013 International Center of Photography, New York.


BRITDOC is a UK based non­profit which supports great independent documentaries from around the world. Working with the Bertha Foundation, BRITDOC has a journalism fund which has supported CITIZENFOUR and Academy Award nominated films such as Dirty Wars and The Square. BRITDOC has helped release three films in the last two years, Ping Pong, which is nominated for a Screen Distribution Award, Edinburgh Film Festival winner One Mile Away and Dirty Wars. BRITDOC is supported by its founding partner Channel 4.

Commissioned by BRITDOC and Abandon Normal Devices and funded by Arts Council, Bertha Foundation and Wallace Action Fund.

For more information on Citizen Four see Citizen Four is distributed by Artificial Eye and Britdoc.

Event info:

  • Fri 24th Apr — Thu 14th May 2015

Useful links