Article Title

Preferred Signals, 1985


Woody Skinner


We lived in a place where cable didn’t exist. Our water was pumped from a well, our electricity streaming in on a TVA river wave. We lived in Izard County, Arkansas, where dirt roads ribboned through hills, where people were all but waiting on a filmmaker to document their poverty.

But we had a satellite dish in our front yard. A marvel of engineering, a jellyfish puffing toward the sky. Its frame stiff, shiny, a monument to mass communication. According to my father, we were devotees of manufacturing, people who made an art out of industry. The satellite dish, the Buick, the trailer—our lives made of metals.

Cover Page Footnote

"Preferred Signals, 1985" was originally published at Booth.