SATELLITEN

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

Despite their overall application, we hardly notice their existence. From the Earth they are visible only rarely, when they are at a perfect angle to reflect the sunlight. However, all the necessary data about the positions and paths of the satellites is known, as it is crucial for determining free spots for new satellites. Accessing this information allows the drawing machine SATELLITEN, to keep record of the sheer amount of satellite flyovers with regard to its own location. In a square of approximately 10 cm², the machine traces their lines in real time, until the far away object leaves our horizon again.

SATELLITEN uses its own position as starting point, and old maps of the area as the base for its drawings. For a long time, maps and atlases used to be the only sources for geographical knowledge. Now the paths of the satellites start to form on top of to us familiar neighbourhoods, thus putting the normally invisible traffic in relation to our usual habitat. But as time passes, the lines of the satellites will obliterate the well-known streets and cities, overwriting not only the information the map originally contained, but also the marks left by the preceding satellites. In the long run, only a black square will be left, the remains of this rather parasitic machine; a temporal window, showing the seemingly arbitrary, but highly structured activities in the lower orbit of the Earth.