When we speak of the Cloud, we imagine data particles scattered in the air, unrestrainedly floating, with neither weight nor physical mass, impossible to catch. The language with which we describe the newest technologies underlines their lightness, agility, elusiveness, and immateriality. In reality, the network is not homogenous and smooth, but it has its “walls,” indentations, densities, and geometry (L. Drulhe), which remain intricately connected to physical geography, politics, and global power structures. The Internet, the cloud, the data centres – all are based on a very specific framework of material infrastructure. Beginning from small household routers connected by cables to larger network structures governed by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) like server farms and data processing centres, through the Internet Exchange Points (IXP), where signals from various providers merge, up to the network’s backbone – large structures of cables and optical fibres, lain at the bottoms of oceans and seas or crossing entire continents – the sequences of zeros and ones encoding every information of our world.

Around 95% of the global Internet is currently flowing through sea and ocean floors. Ca. four hundred underwater optical fibres connect various places all over the world, thus allowing for a faster transfer between some of them while excluding some – like Cuba – from the global exchange of knowledge, services, and digital commodities. Some of the cables are a few dozen kilometres long, others, like the ones crossing the Pacific Ocean, are over a dozen thousands. Their installation requires hard, physical labour of workers in factories and on ships.

The Web’s infrastructure can be tightly enclosed, protected by CCTV cameras, double gates in data centres, locks, military-like guards, or bunkers from the Cold War era.

It is difficult to analyse that which eludes our sight and functions as hidden to a twofold degree. Without a “secret” code of the infrastructural underground, it is not easy to discern that somewhere nearby, in completely inconspicuous places, the Internet flows every day – on a scenic field near a small river near Płock or a tourist-frequented beach in Mielno.