Google publicly announced that they would be taking high-resolution pictures of Sydney, Australia from a plane last Friday to commemorate Australia Day. Some enterprising bloggers decided that they would spam in real life by setting up a large display on the ground that was sure to be noticed from the air. The way they made their display is questionable, using 2,500 sheets of A4 paper and staking them individually into the ground rather than using much larger component parts. But the method isn’t what’s most interesting here.
Someone has already made profanity that’s visible from space, as well “depictions of the human form”. Humans in antiquity even made large lines in the desert that survive to this day whose purposes we cannot yet ascertain. But none of these are as insidious as real world spam.
I can easily forsee corporations painting their roofs with their logos (rumors have it that Target is already doing this). Thus they will be much more obvious in satellite photography. But these are just the roofs of extant buildings. What happens when people start buying up land for no other purpose than to put a horizontal advertisement on it? This isn’t even limited to satellite photography — surely one could see this happening around airports too? And if Google continues to make their picture-taking runs public, then look forward to lots more installations of temporary physical spam, that is, people going to parks or other large open areas and putting out giant horizontal posters, kind of like what the bloggers at the beginning of this post did, except more professionally.
Advertising permeates our culture, and now, it seems, it is destined to permeate our planet as well.