Video Essay: All That Is Solid Melts Into Data

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dir. Ryan S. Jeffery and Boaz Levin

This film is posted in anticipation of boundary 2‘s upcoming special issue –– Bernard Stiegler: Amateur Philosophy (January 2017).

Equal parts building and machine, a library and a public utility, data centers are the unwitting monuments of knowledge production to the digital turn. This film traces the historical evolution of these structures that make-up “the cloud”, the physical repositories for the exponentially growing amount of human activity and communication taking form as digital data. While our “smart tools” and devices for communication become increasingly smaller, thinner, and sleeker, the digital sphere they require grows larger demanding an ever-growing physical infrastructure, effecting and shaping our physical landscape. This film looks to the often-overlooked materiality of networked technologies in order to elucidate their social, environmental, and economic impact, and calls into question the structures of power that have developed out of the technologies of global computation.

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