Orbital Systems

Things have moved so fast with my research lately I haven’t really commented on it. But there’s a focus for my current project now. Some of that is visible on my tumblr – prgrms.tumblr.com otherwise here is a bit of an update on where things are headed.

Some of my previous projects used NASA imagery in an animated way – whether that was looking in, via satellite imagery of Earth, or outwards with cosmic perspectives brought to us by the Hubble, I recently realised that this has been a space my work has operated in. To be honest it hadn’t totally hit me – maybe in some ways that’s because I was working with the imagery produced by satellites. But on closer thought I saw that I’d been working with satellites as a subject in and of themselves.

Hubble in orbit


If Airfield used imagery by satellites pointed directly at Earth, and Noumina was directed outward, this new work comes to be about that middle point – the orbital perspective – as Ron Garan calls it. This new project, which I am tentatively titling EO (as an abbreviation for elliptical/Earth orbit, or earth observation) comes to be about this perspective, the location of satellites and their horizonal views from Low Earth Orbit.



Airfield arose out of the proliferation of imagery that entered into the public consciousness via technologies like Google Earth. And perhaps Noumina came to be following the 2009 upgrade maintenance mission to the Hubble, which returned it to full functionality, allowing for its highest quality images since launch.

The EO project responds to the images that have been produced aboard the International Space Station, either taken by astronauts, or the recently installed HDEV video camera system which provides a live HD feed of the Earth from the point of view of the ISS. This ‘Orbital Perspective’, I feel, is one that belongs in the lineage of images produced via spaceflight such as Earthrise, the Blue Marble, and Pale Blue Dot.



What is the significance of the images produced aboard ISS, and how have they altered our perception of the planet and ourselves? While my research project attempts to investigate these questions in part, it is also an abstraction of it. In my project I am using software to create orbital virtual cameras and art ‘satellites’ that rotate around a spherical body. This has put me into contact with a wide range of so-called ‘orbital artworks’ – projects that either use an orbital methodology or process, or works that involve orbital spaceflight and the images it produces.

In the ramp up to the completion of the project I’ll be posting more bite sized chunks of research as they relate to EO and its accompanying exegesis.

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