I’m in some commercial park in the U.K. A large green space sits beside a parking lot. It’s been mowed in a giant spiral.
I’m in a barren patch of dirt in Iceland. It might be Mars, if not for the two, gigantic white warehouses.
I’m in Utah by a golf course. I’m in France near some basketball courts. I’m … just surfing the web.
Data Centers Grand Tour is an e-Permanent exhibition by Silvio Lorusso in which he actually shows you the location of the data that you’re viewing. The goal? To bring transparency to the things you see online. Each click of the page takes you to a new domain and a new Google satellite view, overlooking the data center from which the pixels on your screen flew–through countless miles of fiber-optic cabling–to get to you.
Seeing the entire exhibition takes all of 30 seconds if you click quickly, but it will inevitably leave your perspective changed. Because even though we all know that the Internet spans the world, our browsers render it as an experience all of 13 inches wide on a laptop screen, with no image, video, or article more than a few keystrokes or clicks away. Our feedback for this exploration is wholly positive in nature–we’re constantly rewarded with content at no real cost, like children who understand the concept of money but have absolutely no concern as to how their parents make it.
I can’t help but wonder if a plugin, showing where all of our actions went, would influence our browsing behavior. Or imagine if every time you Googled something, a ticker measured its energy consumption. That said, what a privilege it is that we aren’t forced to see all that infrastructure. Because crawling through sub-aquatic cabling would get old real quick.