Media Times| Geographies of Liveness: Time, Space, and Satellite Networks as Infrastructures of Live Television in the Our World Broadcast

Christine Evans, Lars Lundgren


This article historicizes the emergence of television satellite infrastructure by exploring a key moment: a 1967 transnational satellite broadcast called Our World, that was to reach viewers across the northern hemisphere, including the USSR. Drawing on archival sources that reveal extensive negotiations among the producing sides, we find that Our World’s claimed creation of “global presence” was indeed, as Lisa Parks has argued, a fantasy of modernization tied to temporal and spatial hierarchies of modernization, but one neither exclusive to the West nor uncontested by the show’s socialist participants. We argue that the program’s temporal claim to conquer space via liveness required the constant assertion of spatial hierarchies and conflicting temporalities, based on unequal and unpredictable material infrastructures, personal relationships, and rival symbolic claims. We describe these temporalized and spatialized conflicts as “geographies of liveness.”


time, space, liveness, satellites, television, Our World

Full Text: