“The aesthetics of man-made objects in space, their appearance and especially their orbits are transformed into a minimal audiovisual performance, showing the poetic dance satellites and their trash perform while revolving around us. Seemingly chaotic paths mutate to amazing patterns of an almost organic nature—all of it due to pure physical necessity. When we started working with global satellite data, their information was based on a website maintained by the US Air Force. Yet after some time, based on information from the Union of Concerned Scientists, we discovered that some objects were missing. Fortunately the data on classified satellites is generated by enthusiastic amateur astronomers observing the night skies.” Quadrature


In the process of creating Supraspectives, the artist duo Quadrature has gathered the data of 590 (recent & former) spy satellites, whose trajectory the installation follows. A third of them can be considered space trash, as they are obsolete or damaged, but still, they continue overflying us. The installation calculates the paths of all those satellites in real time and speculatively reconstructs the view they are capturing, offering artistically intervened images of what the satellites could be observing. Mainly satellites passing near the exhibition venue are selected, combined with other specially interesting or suggestive satellite images. Additionally, a specifically built motorized antenna on the roof connects live with the satellites overflying Tabakalera, transforming their real radio signals into sound. Everytime the installation connects with a satellite, the screen shows the data relative to it, such as country of origin or year of launch.


Positions of the Unknown
At the very beginning of space exploration the infrastructure to monitor the whole sky was not yet developed. So in order to find out whether foreign countries launched objects, the US government started to train citizens to observe and detect possible artificial satellites. Scattered over the allied world, these amateur scientists played a crucial part in keeping track of all men-made technology orbiting earth, until “Operation Moonwatch” was discontinued in 1975 […] “Positions of the Unknown” locates the current whereabouts of these mysterious objects by simply pointing at them as they revolve around Earth. Missing the legal proof, those unidentified artefacts remain entities of pure speculation, secret companions of us and our planet. Even so they have been sighted several times and their ubiquitous presence is therefore somehow validated, they linger in a state between existence and non-existence. Quadrature’s 52 small machines constantly follow their paths and serve as silent witnesses of the unknown.

Christian Babski, Stéphane Carion, Christophe Guignar & Patrick Keller

Satellite Daylight
Satellite Daylight is an interactive light installation formed by a trapeze of 24 high-voltage neon tubes tapering upwards, created by fabric | ch – a studio for architecture, interaction and research dedicated to investigating contemporary space based in Lausanne. The installation is connected to data collected in real time from online weather stations and meteorological satellite maps, which therefore translate actual global light conditions picked up by satellites orbiting the earth at the latitude of Basel into an endless loop of perceivable electrical intensity.

Charlie Behrens

Algorithmic Architecture
This short film is intended to encourage a creative audience to seek out Kevin Slavin’s talk Those Algorithms Which Govern Our Lives. It employs an effect which takes place in Google Earth when its 3D street photography and 2D satellite imagery don’t register correctly. This glitch is applied as a metaphor for the way that our 21st century supercities are physically changing to suit the needs of computer algorithms rather than human employees.