Trevor Paglen Untitled (Reaper Drone) 2012
In his latest project, “The Last Pictures,” the photographer Trevor Paglen tackles some huge questions: What is an image? What happens to an image when you detach it from history? And what is the future? Parts of the project, which began five years ago, are on display at Metro Pictures gallery in Chelsea. The project culminated last fall when a Russian space shuttle launched from Kazakhstan carrying 100 images (chosen or shot by Paglen) encoded onto a silicone disc that is meant to remain in orbit long after the planet is gone. In other words, short of some art-world space race, Paglen’s work will ostensibly be the only surviving piece of art history in the universe in a few billion years.