Over many months this past year, Johannes Bruder and I worked on writing an essay called Cloud Cosmogram as part of the Data Farms project. And with the designer Selena Savic, we developed a companion visualisation.
“Taking a step back from seeing the cloud as a medium that virtualizes social relations, we take the technicalities, standards and certificates that guide data centre operations to compose an alternative cosmogram of the cloud. In so doing, we move away from the metaphorical elusiveness implied by the figure of the cloud to ask how data centre operations enable, challenge, and to some degree replace, traditional sociality through the organizational intricacies of ‘post-human institutions’: a ‘new form of architecture for data and machines … almost liberated from human intervention and entirely shaped by technological rationales’. Our cosmogram does not reveal a disguised materiality – it is neither another mapping of its very material infrastructure nor a visualization of its equally material carbon footprint. Instead, we concentrate on the co-location of objects and technical practices that determines the place of the human in the data centre…”