The Internet is often described in terms of its immateriality – data floating in a ubiquitous Cloud, instantaneous connection, a Digital Revolution far removed from industrial-age labour and extraction. These narratives shroud large scale computer networks, underlying infrastructures, and their socio-ecological effects in a mist of forgetfulness, erasing any inkling of local effects, agency, and character. This talk explores these politics of in/visibility and erasure in the context of Poland.
Based on a residency in the spring of 2022, consisting of Cloud Tourism of Warsaw, along some of Poland’s main Internet backbone cable lines, up to the cable landings on the Polish north coast, and back again, the talk gives an overview of the distribution and hot spots of digital infrastructures in Poland, shares tools of how to locate them, and recounts the stories, mishaps, and stakes of trying to find the physical Internet where all everybody wants you to see is, simply, a Cloud.
Vanessa Graf is a writer and artist working at the intersection of (digital) technologies, culture, and ecology. She is currently a PhD student in Media Ecology at the artistic-scientific graduate school MAKE/SENSE in Basel (CH), a Junior Fellow at IFK Vienna (AT), as well as a biology undergrad at the University of Salzburg (AT). Her research investigates Cloud infrastructures as embodied media in site-specific contexts, as well as the gap between the Cloudy stories we tell, and the material infrastructures they shroud in ambiguity.
Vanessa Graf has received several prizes and awards for her work, most recently Upper Austria’s Talent Promotion Award 2021, the advancement award of the 2020 Rauris Days of Literature, the advancement award of the literature biennial FLORIANA 2020, the media scholarship of the National Parks Austria 2020 and the Fohn scholarship 2020. Website: https://www.vanessagraf.at/.