Orbital Reveries is an artistic project in which terrestrial satellite imagery is processed using computer vision algorithms to generate topological, lexical poems— characterised as ‘textscapes’. In parsing technoscientific data into speculative artworks, this project follows the conjectures of several theorists concerning the potential for alternative modes of sensory practice, with the specific aim of reworking the datafied paradigms through which a changing planetary environment is measured and mapped.
In 2023, a free, online edition of Orbital Reveries was compiled, and it can be viewed by clicking on the cover image below, or through this link. Please note it is a large, image-rich file, so may take some time to download.
CRASSH Remote Sensing: Ice, Instruments, Imagination
In April 2023, an outgrowth of Orbital Reveries was created as part of the CRASSH research workshop “Exploring Practices between the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities” at the University of Cambridge. The full event programme can be found at this link here. This workshop was conducted as part of the CRASSH research network “Remote Sensing: Ice, Instruments, Imagination.” Further details of this network can be found at this link here.
The workshop participants were asked to employ an interactive “map parser” utility that was created for the event. This utility allowed members of the five working groups to append written and visual annotations directly onto a set of supplied satellite scenes, using the imagery to prompt and organise their thoughts and associations concerning the form and textures of each given image, as well as their own understandings of what “remote sensing” means. The data generated was compiled into an interactive atlas, which can be viewed on itch.io. The members of each group are credited in the opening caption of each scene.
The workshop was subsequently blogged by organisers Lilian Kroth and Amelia Urry, and this can be read at the link card below.
Orbital Reveries grew originally out of the zine The Landsat Reverie, that was made for the zinesindarktimes project by Joanna Walsh. It has been published across different venues and channels over recent years (listed below), and, in July 2022, was compiled as a full-length artist’s book, which is available above.
In September 2023, a selection of plates from Orbital Reveries (series #6) were featured in Cultural Geographies, “Satellite Poetics and Provocations”. Available here.
In October 2021, Orbital Reveries (series #5) was featured in Poetrishy, Edition 1. Available here.
In September 2021, Orbital Reveries (series #4) was detailed in a creative-critical essay for the journal The Digital Review, “Orbital Reveries: Satellite Textscapes and Reframing the Multispectral Gaze”. Available here.
In May 2021, two pieces from Orbital Reveries (series #3) feature in the anthology The Mouth of a Lion by Steel Incisors press. Available here.
In December 2020, an adapted piece from Orbital Reveries (series #3) was published in Streetcake Magazine. 70, Part 1. Available here.
In November 2020, three pieces from Orbital Reveries (series #2) were included in the poetry anthology Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology by Crested Tit Collective. Available here. Review by Andrea Mason here.
In May 2020, two pieces from Orbital Reveries (series #1) were included in the Mellom Press online exhibition Trånslatiøns.