How We Relate To Digital Ecologies

In which I attempt to sketch critical ways to engage with our entanglement with digital technologies (12th April)

Ah Goldsmiths. Therein I and many others were indoctrinated (intended with all possible sinister connotations) into the Graham Harwood view on media technologies. Technologies discipline us as we shape them, there is no real demarcation between the machine and the human.

Where can the Harwood view figure on a project intending to sink its teeth into matters of digital ecology? Quite comfortably I would argue. The talk last Tuesday mused upon how we might consider the general ecology of the world and our role within it.

Lets consider for a small second the environmental issues of your use of Gmail, dropbox, or perusing Amazon…

Cloud computing offloads computation to ‘the cloud’: a misnomer which disavows the materiality of the phenomena. The Cloud is driven by server farms who have a very real physical presence. These farms need electricity and so it was most welcome to learn that one of Googles data centres locates itself as proximate as possible to the Netherlands Coal Fired power station in Eemshaven. The black boxing of digital cultures makes it easy for us to have amnesia about the material effects of our networked technology. What then if we could use the electrical usage of server farms as a data feed for The Real Game Of Life to reflect upon digital ecologies place in the wider ecology of Gaia?

~ by Stephen Fortune on May 5, 2011.

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