chapter  7
16 Pages

Mapping Space: Imaging Technologies and the Planetary Body

When we look at the weather to find out what is coming, we now take the viewpoint of the angels: looking down at the earth, rather than up at the sky. Sadly, we do without the celestial music, though one sometimes hears a heavenly choir begin to sing on MeteoMedia, the Montreal-based, cross-Canadian, cable weather station, as the scenery switches from tossing waves to satellite views of the cloud-covered earth. Our wisdom of the skies comes to us-ordinarily with less paradigmatic pluralism, but with an equal assurance of divine knowledge-by virtue of NASA, a host of circling and geostationary satellites and a plethora of cybernetic and optical innovations, whose products are stunningly beautiful but completely silent, unlike trees, winds, insects, and animals, whose sounds once taught our elders to know what was coming. Our ancestors looked upward, and saw in the stars what they already knew: the twinkling outline of goddesses and gods, mythic animals, and other astrological figures caught in the timeless spin of cosmic

What does it mean that we now view the skies looking down, rather than up? Wh at do we read in these images, and why do they seem so dangerouslyeloquent?