Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
The cell tower is a gigantic object we rarely see, effectively invisible, at the periphery of our vision but at the center of everyday experience. Cropping up everywhere, whether steel latticework or tapered monopoles, encrusted with fiberglass antennas, cell towers raise up high into the air the communications equipment that channels our calls, texts, and downloads. For security reasons, their locations are never advertised. But it's our romantic notions of connectivity that hide them in plain sight. We want the network to be invisible, ethereal, and ubiquitous: the cell tower stands as a challenge to these desires.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic.