Satellite Landscapes book (126 pp.)
Doubling as a catalogue for the 2014 exhibition "INFRASTRUCTURE" at Intersection for the Arts, this book contains visual elements from the Satellite Landscapes, projects like Power Trip and Pipe Dream, ongoing personal explorations, entirely hand-written text and diagrams, and unresolved questions about the individual's relationship to infrastructural systems. The phrase "satellite landscape" refers to a couple of things -- most literally, to the fact that I used satellite imagery of infrastructural landscapes in much of the work. But it also refers to what I consider a satellite landscape to begin with -- a place whose existence feels peripheral to immediate experience, geographically, psychologically, or both. Satellite landscapes underwrite the modern lifestyle that we (at least in the first world) take for granted: factories, container ships, substations, data centers, cables, pipelines, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, dumps, landfills, and so on.
The Satellite Landscapes were exhibited as part of a solo exhibition called "INFRASTRUCTURE" at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco in 2014. More than plain documentation, this book represents an extension of the work -- an elaboration of an aesthetic of curiosity. This is where I've gathered the thoughts, images, and pieces of information that comprise my necessarily inadequate, amateur, and always-unfinished attempt to understand these systems. Taken together, these pieces also represent the confusion that sets in at the intersection of personal, day-to-day experience and the industrial sublime -- the abstract and sometimes terrifying scale at which infrastructure operates. Somewhere between here and there, between us and that, between today and 50 years in the future, a slow disaster seems to be unfolding that can inspire nothing but a feeling of paralysis. Imagination balks at the challenge and turns away. The peripheral nature of satellite landscapes, then, has as much to do with repression as it does with distance, the hiding of visual traces, or habituation.
To that end, the task explored in these pages is that of cultivating a curiosity that, when directed toward things that might be unpleasant, uncomfortable, or otherwise impossible to consider, trumps boredom or despair. This curiosity (latent in many of us, I believe, and sometimes needing to be reawakened after childhood) seems to me one of the only ways t hold open a space for looking -- specifically, into a situation so sprawling that our understanding of it constantly risks an emotional or conceptual shutdown. If we are to travel to the periphery, we will need curiosity and fascination to get (and stay) there.
Copies of the Satellite Landscapes book are printed on demand and can be ordered here (please note that the cost reflects the cost of printing on demand). A full-screen preview is available below.