Christina Gruber - Digital Water - No Water. No Cloud.
Presentation | Art Meets Radical Openness 2018
Festival dedicated to Art, Hacktivism & Open Culture.
Our daily life is based on interactions and ever more often our communication takes place online. As to say the “analog” world, the “real” life, is slowly transferred into the digital world. It becomes intangible. But what if the digital is located on this planet and feeds on it as much as we humans do?
My talk will deal with the manifestations of the digital “Cloud” the software and hardware platforms supporting data centers, physical transmission links, browser-based applications, and so forth.
The hypothesis is: No Water. No Cloud. This indicates that the only way to stop the ongoing surveillance of our online activities is to cut the water supply of surveillance agencies. It became clear that the Cloud is ultimately dependent on water in form of electricity and cooling systems. I started thinking about the abstract, immaterial system of the Cloud and how it becomes part of our environment. All of a sudden, my cloudy imaginations of this mystical data ship floating weightless in cyberspace turned into a body relying, as my own, on water.
I collect pieces of the Cloud and its manifestations to indicate the material world of the immaterial Cloud. One of these Clouds is about to form in a village in Upper Austria, where Google purchased 780.000 m2 of land for a future “Cloud factory”.
Christina Gruber is an artist and freshwater ecologist living and working in Vienna, Austria. She works at the intersection of art and science; her work deals with societal phenomena that shape our world. These relate to the Anthropocene, a concept that describes human beings as the main force changing the earth’s surface. Gruber investigates the effects humans have and had on the landscape and how they’ve shaped the earth’s surface. In the last years water is of special interest to her. She sees it as the element that all things on earth, including humans, have in common. It is the connector between stories of different places and layers, running through everything, from clouds to datacenters.