Satellite Launches Pop-Art Into the Void
Scottish nanosatellite reaches orbit dressed up as a cell-charging station.
On July 8th, a tiny, colorful new satellite joined the approximately 3000 others orbiting the Earth just outside its atmosphere. The UKube-1 — weighing in at just under 8 pounds and taking up only 1.3 cubic feet — brings together different technologies and cultures, carrying several kinds of British mechanisms inside an American pop art shell.
UKube's Celestial Charging Station facade is the work of Jon Gibson and Amanda White, creative directors and co-owners of iam8bit, a pop art-loving LA production company and gallery. The black, white, and orange design is etched into the satellite's surface for longevity's sake, and cheerfully invites alien visitors to plug in their devices before heading down to earth: “[i]f someone is going to invade our planet, presumably they're going to come in some sort of electronic, electricity-powered ship,” Gibson jokes to Fox, adding, “Maybe this will make them stop for a moment and say, ‘These guys are nice. We're not going to destroy their planet.”‘ Beyond appeasing invaders (their disappointment at discovering that the outlets are fake notwithstanding), the piece is meant to reflect the current state of culture far below the satellite. Gibson explains to artnet: