During our 6th meeting we discussed the introduction and the first chapter of the book "Cutures in Orbit. Satellites and the Televisual" by Lisa Parks.
The book deals with the question of global televisuality and its political implications by exploring the presence, the techniques and and the functions of satellite observation and the implications their existence has for the creation of an alleged "Global Presence". We discussed the first chapter at length in which Parks, by means of the example of the first global satellite television program "Our World", shows that satellites helped to decrease distances between places while at the same time also incrasing them: While "Our World" did widen the trenches between a cold war East and West and helped to make aware of a broader spectrum of global themes it was also a highly colonial and paternalistic undertaking that today can be criticised as such.
We then connected the reading to other texts of post-colonial studies which each of us had read before and tried to distinguish between them and Parks' emphasis on visibility and visuality as a colonial practice. Especially attractive to us was the concept of a "Global Presence" as analytical category which we might apply in further research but which should not be remained uncontested altogether because it is itself a concept that idealizes programs such as "Our World".
Eventually we connected Park' book to what we had read before on the question of exerting power by directing the gaze at a distinct point on the globe.
The meeting took place on the 22.3. at 14.30 at the Koebner Centre for German History.