An English Landscape (American Surveillance Base near Harrogate, Yorkshire) is a large, panoramic photograph installed across the length of a disused station platform at Gloucester Road Tube station.
The installation is evocative of a long history of art made in response to the British landscape. Referring back to art-historical figures such as Constable, Turner and Gainsborough, American artist Trevor Paglen’s intention is to create a contemporary version of what they saw.
The artwork gives the impression of looking through the platform’s brick arches onto a bucolic English landscape. Specifically, this is the North Yorkshire countryside around Menwith Hill. In the middle of the scene there is a cluster of white, geodesic dome structures. These and the equipment they contain are used by the United States in communications and intelligence-gathering.
Paglen’s photographic work explores ways of seeing and interpreting the world around us, and An English Landscape is the latest in a series of work that seeks to expand the visual vocabulary we use to ‘see’ the phenomena of global surveillance, most recently with nighttime pictures of National Security Agency (NSA) sites in the United States.
The project launched with an ‘In Conversation’ event between Trevor Paglen and Ossian Ward, author and critic at the Dana Centre, Science Museum, 2014.