Lisa Parks

Usually at academic and arts conferences. I’m a media studies scholar, interested in the use and development of satellite technologies from citizens’ point of view. Try to dream about what type of satellite development in the public interest might look like. Came from my interest of public interest TV, what does public interest satellite look like?

Showing an artist based in berlin and start installing physical google markers in places.

Interested in satellite image orders by individual consumers. Dan Bollinger tried to get satellite images to show Survivor.

KFC requested an Ikonos image of their new logo that they did huge in Nevada.

Use of GPS to “plot the personal”, and generate unique “movement signatures”.

The way that the planet is now being crisscrossed by satellite footprints and wireless footprints. How we don’t just map the world in terms of countries, states, blocks, but also coverage footprints which are sometimes more important.

“Cultures in Orbit” – Lisa Parks’ book.

“Part of my research has focused on specific uses of satellite imagery in the news media to represent global conflicts and events”

4 questions: images used to represent global conflicts? Where does authority to use come from?…

Satellite images showing alleged mass graves in Bosnia. Appeared in papers and press after declassification. Problems are that the images acquired during the atrocities, from a safe haven that was overrun, 8000 muslim men were allegedly driven away and buried in mass graves. Problem was of an overload of satellite information and techniques were not good enough to make the images useful in a timely fashion. Detailed investigation of this timeliness.

Also look into imaging of refugees, requests were made for images to be released to show the situation in Rawanda. People began to pay attention.

War in Iraq, 2003-present – Colyn Powell’s infamous presentation about WMD before the war began. Use of the images in powerpoint in UN council chambers. Scathing critique was given of these images weeks after this. This compromises the ability of US to use these images with credibility.

Showing Google Earth & USHMM “Crisis in Darfur [layer]” – interested in the shifting function and role of satellite image as it circulates in the popular culture. Data about activities happening in the region together with photos.

Looking at case studies over 10 years there’s an eclipsing of the satellite imagery, in earlier media there was a focus on the image as the site of scrutiny, these days the satellite image becomes a wallpaper and the closer views are privileged over the satellite image. Showing that the image is no longer interesting, it’s the zoom through to the detail. These alternative images may perpetuate bad images of e.g. Africa whereas unfiltered satellite images did not do this so much.

As images become mass media, more and more citizens use them to understand the earth, but most are not interpreting the imagery and know little about it and its uses. Visual and technological literacy problems.

Citizens have a right to know how these are used.

Developers can help citizens, by embedding metadata. Would be great to get the source, sensing instrument, infra-red, spectral, owner, date, orbital address, proprietary status. Helps to understand imaging more effectively. Now being done some by google earth. These graphics reveal how it occurs, show that satellites don’t hover, they pass over. Gives a historical record on satellite imagery acquisition.

We need better maps of orbital space, of satellite traffic, of the dynamic activity or earth and orbit.

[Slide showing satellites being used for TV transmission during Yugoslavia war]

Multiple other representations. Showing photo of US 193, satellite that was shot down by US. Talking about Trevor Paglen trying to find out about things we’re not meant to know about, he took a photo of this satellite and does more investigation.

Earth-Browsing: Satellite Images, Global Events and Visual Literacy

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