Brain Pickings

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors: The Physical Underbelly of the Internet

by

An anatomical tour of the Internet by way of 60 Hudson Street, a nondescript epicenter of global data traffic.

We keep thinking and reading about the Internet as a cultural phenomenon, but what about its palpable physicality? In 2010, it was estimated that the world produced over one thousand exobytes of new data, or one trillion gigabytes. Most of it doesn’t stay put — instead, it travels through the world’s servers, but where exactly does it go? That’s precisely what Ben Mendelsohn set out to answer in Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors, a fascinating short documentary for his masters thesis at The New School. The film takes us inside 60 Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan — a deceptively nondescript building that houses one of the world’s major nodes of the Internet. The rest…well, you’ll have to see for yourself:

It’s really vital to remember that the Internet is physical. The Internet can be touched, it is material and it exists — because so much of the rhetoric surrounding current concepts of ‘cyberspace’ suggests that it’s somehow just this sort of magic, etherial realm that exists ‘out there’ almost on its own.” ~ Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society, Newcastle University

Technology does not exist in a vacuum. It is shaped by the many people and institutions that extract value from it. With all this infrastructure, all this sunk capital, there is obviously much value to extract from 60 Hudson Street… A combination of historic, technological, and economic forces has embedded this concentrated piece of Internet infrastructure in the dense urban core of Lower Manhattan.”

(Bonus: At 0:20, you can see a shot of our view at Studiomates.)

via The Atlantic Video

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

Share on Tumblr