I could tell you, but then you would have to be destroyed by me

by Sara Gran

One of my favorite books of the past year has been Trevor Paglen’s I COULD TELL YOU, BUT THEN YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE DESTROYED BY ME. This a collection of patches collected from military branches of various capacities. What they have in common is that they are all classified groups, with little or no official recognition. These are the people who work at Area 51, Groom Lake, Antelope Valley, and other liminal spots on the map. Of course, like all people, they have an urge towards self/group-identification, and so they do what other groups within the military do–come up with funny names and make patches. Each patch is a window into the strange twilight world of black ops and military conspiracy, and each one is a little mystery waiting to be solved–a perfect little microcosm of that sense of almost-truth that makes conspiracy theories so dangerously addictive.

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2 Comments to “I could tell you, but then you would have to be destroyed by me”

  1. I love the idea that you cannot fully suppress people’s desire to connect….to feel a part of something and to show it. It’s also a funny kind of group-individualism amid structures that are, ostensibly, about the effacement of the individual.

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