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Satellite Photograph Captures Installation Art at the Cornfields

By David Markland
Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, at 12:25PM
IMG_2302 David Markland [Flickr]

Nirvan Mullick, foreground, one of over 100 volunteers putting materials in the shape of a giant eagle at the LA Historic State Park.

On Sunday morning over one hundred people gathered for a group photo being taken from space.

Battling heavy winds in the middle of the muddied fields of the Los Angeles Historic State Park, scores of volunteers spent three hours wrangling thousands of yards of photovoltaic film sheets to trace the shape of a giant eagle. With the help of a bullhorn, aeriel artist John Quigley, also known as Spectral Q, coordinated the helping hands to create the mixed media design scaled larger than the size of a football field.

Quigley’s “Solar Eagle Taking Flight” is just one of twenty global works of public art being created for the 360 Earth project between November 20 and 27 to create climate change awareness. All the locations, including Cape Town, South Africa, and Mumbai, India, are large enough to be photographed by a satellite. Images from all of the events will be presented at the United Nations Climate Talks being held in Cancun next month.

Quigley chose the Downtown park in part due to its historical significance as being the site of a “major environmental history.”

“This was an old rail yard,” he said of the area known popularly as "the Cornfields." “Then developers wanted to build a lot of condos and shopping centers here, but the environmental community fought to keep it as green space.”

The eagle design was put together using materials used to make solar panels. He credited the volunteers with assembling the piece “literally one or two minutes before the satellite took the shoot.”

For the photos, which also included a number of shots taken via helicopter, volunteers were able to finally rest by laying along the eagle’s outline and simply smiling for the cameras.

Satellite company Digital Globe donated their services to the project, and materials for the Los Angeles art piece were provided by Olin Brass and Madico. If a student artist, group or school would like to reuse the materials for their own project, they’re encouraged to contact Julia Jaye at


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