The Alps covered with/by satellites

by nicolasnova

(Photo by Annick Rivoire)

March 10, 2017, Lyon (France). Seen at the Mirage Festival, this installation from Quadrature called “Satelliten“… which covers the French/Swiss Alps in a very intriguing way:

Accessing this information [satellite presence] allows the drawing machine SATELLITEN to keep record of the sheer amount of satellite flyovers in regard to its own location. In a square of approximately 10cm², the machine traces their lines in real time until the far away object leaves our horizon again.

SATELLITEN uses its own position as starting point and old maps of the area as a base for its drawings. For a long time, maps and atlases used to be one of the only sources for geographical knowledge. Now the paths of the satellites start to form on top of the familiar neighbourhoods, thus setting the normally invisible traffic in relation to our usual habitat. But as time passes the lines of the satellites will obliterate the well-known streets and cities, overwriting not only the information the map originally contained but as well the marks left by the preceding satellites. In the long run only a black square will be left, it is the remains of this rather parasitic machine: a temporal window, showing the seemingly arbitrary but highly structured activities in lower earth orbit.