Their work argues that the digital is material. That it connects bodies, thermal flow, matter, and the environment, exposing the romantic metaphor of the cloud by looking at data infrastructure: it’s materiality, the spaces it produces, and the vast ecological footprint it creates.
The pavilion – Entanglement – explored the materiality of the interwoven human, environmental, and cultural impacts of information and communication technologies.
It subverted a fundamental artefact of the network – the server cabinet – to uncloud the sleek aesthetic of an industry which is forming our realities. Inviting the audience to experience this thermal logic themselves through real-time thermographic imaging technologies that juxtaposed key sites associated with data infrastructure in Ireland with traces of human activity in the Arsenale, Entanglement became part pagan festival, part data infrastructure, part signal.
Situated in the Irish context, their publication, States of Entanglement: Data In the Irish Landscape draws together researchers in the fields of media theory, art, and geography, as well as architecture and design, to highlight how data production and consumption territorialize the physical landscape and to examine Ireland’s place in the pan-national evolution of data infrastructure and the material footprint of the global internet and cloud services.
Together, these argue that ‘the cloud’ is not an ethereal and abstract space but has distinct material and environmental footprints that compel us to re-evaluate the utopian fantasy of digital communication and to reflect on how we live together through data infrastructure, today and into the future.
Annex’s ongoing research explores the material and cultural implications of large technical systems for the built environment with reference to architecture, art, computer science, and gaming platforms, and draws attention to some of the extraordinary transformations and profound contradictions being brought about by information technologies, decoded from the lens of Ireland’s significant role in telecommunications