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Exploring hidden infrastructures

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Modes of
Perception

Modes of Perception challenges our perception on public satellite systems and data by critically reflecting on the EU’s Earth observation program Copernicus and its relation to the ongoing migration situation in the Mediterranean Sea. Headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the systems satellite data - processed and organised by the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) - are of crucial value to the controversial Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex as well as to naval Operation Sophia. By reconstructing one of the few satellite images ever to be officially released by this agency, the project aims to provide different angles and information layers on the hidden mechanics and infrastructures of a seemingly public yet dubious and questionable system: the recent changes in regards to Operation Sophia – suspending ship patrols while reinforcing air surveillance – eventually reduce the orbital technology to passive witnesses of the ongoing tragedies at sea.

Acquisition: Data accquired by Canadian satellite RADARSAT-2 along its path over North Africa and Europe.

Overview of all member states cities contributing to the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur).

Left - Plotting: This map shows the satellite's position at any full minute between 16:34 UTC (south east) and 17:24 UTC (north west). Based on a normal projection, such as Mercator, the overall path will appear as a sine wave.

Right - Reprojecting: Adapting the satellite's view and its constant movement, the path and data acquired needed to be reprojected into the Space-oblique Mercator projection. As the only projection considering Earth's rotation, the swath sensed by a satellite is presented continual and nearly conformal while the areas parellel next to it bear extreme distortions.