Satellite Lamps by Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, and Timo Arnall.
The city is changing in ways that can’t be seen. As urban life becomes intertwined with digital technologies, the invisible landscape of the networked city is taking shape—a terrain made up of radio waves, mobile devices, data streams and satellite signals.
Satellite Lamps is a project about using design to investigate and reveal one of the fundamental constructs of the networked city—the Global Positioning System (GPS). GPS is made up of a network of satellites that provide real-time location information to the devices in our pockets. As GPS has moved from specialized navigation devices to smartphones over the last 10 years, it has become an essential yet invisible part of everyday urban life.
William J. Mitchell (2004) described the landscape of the networked city as an invisible electromagnetic terrain. In Satellite Lamps we explore and chart this terrain, showing how GPS is shaped by the urban spaces where it is used. GPS, alongside wireless networks, algorithms, and embedded sensors, is among the invisible technological materials that comprise many modern products. Created by a small team of design researchers at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Satellite Lamps is a part of our ongoing research into making technologies visible and communicating and interpreting their presence in daily life. As designers we typically shape how technologies like GPS are being used, but with Satellite Lamps we use our practice to address how they can be understood.