Satellites

"A more global world is not a less local world." – David Lyon, Surveillance Society
Bird Watching evolved from two earlier works, Berenice’s Hair and Birding. These pieces used sound to demarcate the viewer's physical presence in the installation space to create an association to allude to planetary orbits and the emotional pull in relationships.

While researching satellites for Bird Watching I discovered that I could intercept their signals as they pass overhead on an inexpensive radio scanner. I also came across an organization called AMSAT ( a group of amateur radio operators ) who make their own communications satellites. This type of amateurism reminded me of artists who characterized themselves as bio-hobbyists because their work and research often incorporated scientific techniques.

My research on satellites focused not only amateurism as a tactical practice, but also on globalization and surveillance. The paper I wrote for Leonardo (that is forthcoming in 2008) discussed remote sensing satellites as optical devices capable of redefining human cognition. My paper suggests that although satellites support a supposedly innocuous paradigm of transparency, that transparency like surveillance, is based on the interconnection between power, knowledge and perceptual experience.