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The Earth is An Image

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Ground Station Series
→The Earth is An Image (online), M+ Museum, 2022

「The Earth is An Image」Loading Page, 2021

Digital Performance
Web-based generative visual audio 
The Earth Is an Image is a web-based work created by artist and engineer Xin Liu exploring the orbital coverage of artificial satellites that are used for geo-imaging, weather forecasting, and related technologies. Proposing a post-anthropocentric view, Liu tunes into the minds of several satellites that have been abandoned in orbit at the end of their missions. 

The Earth is An Image

Digital Work 
M+ Museum Digital Commission

An antenna installed in Hong Kong captures the radio signals of three retired satellites that pass over the city approximately four times a day. Despite becoming obsolete two decades ago, these satellites are still dutifully orbiting and transmitting data back to Earth. The satellites’ FM radio signals and climate images are converted into an audiovisual experience of rhythmic sounds, ethereal cloud-forms, and glitchy echoes that are live-streamed online. Alongside this digital composition, a dialogue unfolds between a satellite and someone on the ground, telling the story of orbiting metal bodies that are stranded eight hundred kilometres from Earth. When the satellites are outside the antenna’s reception zone, The Earth is an Image tracks their movements and displays their altitudes and coordinates.

In a poetic enquiry into the lifespan of satellites, Liu not only examines advances in satellite broadcasting, but also provides an alternative experience of distance and space, illustrating the complex relationship between human and non-human life forms. 


Artist: Xin Liu
Visual Design: Yidong Cai
Website: Qianlin, Che-yu Wu, Power Nap Studio
Hardware: Gershon Dublon, slow immediate LLC
Project Assistant: Yuhan Song

Special thanks to The Hong Kong Amateur Radio Transmitting Society for their contribution to the installation and maintenance of the antenna.