EYES ON EARTH, created by Tom Van Sant in 1983, is a real image zoom starting from the geostationary satellite 22,000 miles from Earth and stepping through LANDSAT images, aerial photography and ending with handheld photography in the eye of Tom's son Ryan on the ground in Los Angeles. This project was commissioned by the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Eyes on Earth was commissioned by the Pacific Design Center as a unique space event to be shown as the finale of the three day WEST WEEK international design conference of 1986. It is a real-time zoom from GOES-6 Satellite, stationed 22,000 miles above the earth, to the plaza of the Pacific Design Center at the corner of Melrose and San Vicente Boulevards in Los Angeles. Intermediate images for the zoom were provided by LANDSAT satellite (orbiting 500 miles above the earth), aerial photography (20,000 and 5,000 feet above the earth), and ending with handheld photography in real time before the conference participants on the plaza. The people surround the 6 banks of mirrors, which reflect sunlight to the satellites and aircraft. The mirror contacts are recorded as flashes of light in the scanned images from above. The zoom culminates in Ryan’s eye.
The pictures were rushed to processing and the zoom was projected that evening to the conference. The event was produced by Robert Dixon and Katzel-Thomas Productions, and the work was presented in conjunction with presentations by Dr. Albert Hibbs of Jet Propolsion Laboratories, and Dr. Richard Feynman of CalTech.