Hybrid Art

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Satelliten

Quadrature (DE): Jan Bernstein (DE), Juliane Götz (DE), Sebastian Neitsch (DE)




URL:
http://quadrature.co/work/satelliten/, http://quadrature.co/

Satellites are used for almost all modern achievements, from communication or navigation systems to environmental monitoring and military purposes. By now there are approximately 3,000 satellites in orbit, about 1,000 of which are still operating. The majority of these objects orbit our planet at heights of 200 km to 2,000 km, with an orbital period of 90 to 130 minutes.

Despite their overall application, we hardly notice their existence. They are only rarely visible form Earth, when they are at the perfect angle to reflect the sun. As Kyle Vanhemert of WIRED has pointed out, however, for most of us, the only connecting link is in the form of a tiny dot in an online map on a screen showing our GPS location. We hardly ever decode the symbol and think about what it actually implies: satellites, in space.

All necessary data about the positions and paths of satellites is available to the public, however, as it is crucial for determining free spots for new satellites for example. Accessing this information through a database maintained by the US Air Force, allows the drawing machine Satelliten to keep a record of the sheer number of satellite flyovers in regard to its own location. In a square of approximately 10 sq. cm, the machine traces their lines in real time until the distant object leaves our horizon again.

Satelliten uses its own position coordinates as a starting point and old paper maps of the area as a base for its drawings. The output generated will vary depending on the location. In most western areas, the machine will detect satellites every few minutes. Only in remote regions, where there is less satellite activity, will it remain quiet for longer periods. For a long time, maps and atlas pages were one of the only sources for geographical knowledge. Now the paths of the satellites start to form on top of the familiar neighborhoods, thus relating the normally invisible traffic to our usual habitat. But as time passes the lines of the satellites will obliterate the well-known streets and cities, destroying not only the information the map originally contained but also the marks left by the preceding satellites. The new layer of human civilization covers the old one in an irreversible act of overwriting. In the long run only a black square will be left, it is the remains of this rather parasitic machine: a temporal window to the sky, showing the seemingly arbitrary but highly structured activities in lower earth orbit.

Biography:

Quadrature

Quadrature (DE) is a collective for arts, light and robotics founded in 2012. With their works they try to challenge the usual perception of machinery and the ubiquitous expectation of its presumed functionality. The emphasis of Quadrature’s works is on the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, of object and code. The three members of Quadrature, Jan Bernstein (DE), Juliane Götz (DE) and Sebastian Neitsch (DE), work and live Berlin. They all share a love of machines and outer space.