Deep Sweep, the mirror behind the data

Deep Sweep

Deep Sweep is a low-cost aerospace probe that intercepts the transmission signals between Earth and the stratosphere, specialising in signals sent to satellites by drones and UAV. The project was conceived and designed by Julian Oliver, Bengt Sjölen and Danja Vasiliev (The Critical Engineering Working Group). When launched into orbit with a balloon, the device detects and stores this data, but it can not send this in real time as transmission, at those frequencies, is reserved for military use. When it reaches a height of about 24-30 km from the Earth’s surface, therefore, the device is programmed to descend back to earth. Position coordinates for landing (and recovery!) are communicated via text message when the internal tracker intercepts the GSM network. Already launched twice, the device has a spherical shape and is covered with a fisheye perspective mirror coating, which, in addition to shielding the device from the radar waves, evokes an instrument of surveillance that allows an augmented, panoramic vision of a curved space. As in La Reproduction Interdite (Not to be reproduced) by Rene Magritte, the aesthetic choice of a mirror is not only reflective but also sobering. As a sphere, Deep Sweep recalls the shape of the earth’s globe. We are subjected every day on earth to the continuous detection of data that follows our every step. Unlike with Deep Sweep, the plethora of data we produce never comes back to us in any sort of raw format, just as the viewer’s image is obscured in the mirror painted by Magritte. Chiara Ciociola


The Deep Sweep launches 1 and 2