Data Centers

Data Centers

An investigation into the complex politics of data centers, through photographs and essays

Often hidden in plain sight, data centers are the backbone of our internet. They store, communicate and transport the information we produce and access daily along invisible pathways. The industry of data centers comes entwined with an iconography of generic, bland and sterile architectures: placeless, inconspicuous, anonymous structures--buildings, cable ducts, junction boxes and landing sites that could be anywhere, generating virtual infrastructures that are both everywhere and nowhere.

Bringing together photography, essays and case studies, Data Centers explores the entanglements of place, past and digital infrastructure, taking Switzerland as its example. Beyond the official story--Switzerland's favorable alpine climate, relatively low energy costs, the political stability of the area and its strategic positioning in Central Europe--Data Centers uncovers the narratives of techno-nationalist aspirations; of Swiss Chinese interdependence; of deregulation and once-almighty telecommunications enterprises; of cold-war legacies and the multi-billion dollar business of data security.

Publication Date: 
December 15, 2020