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By Tung-Hui Hu

We might think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in millions of huge info facilities, anybody of that could use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even these kind of info facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. at the back of that cloud-shaped icon on our displays is an entire universe of applied sciences and cultural norms, all operating to maintain us from noticing their life. during this booklet, Tung-Hui Hu examines the space among the true and the digital in our knowing of the cloud.

Hu indicates that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer strains, and tv circuits. He describes key moments within the prehistory of the cloud, from the sport “Spacewar” as exemplar of time-sharing desktops to chilly struggle bunkers that have been later reused as information facilities. Countering the preferred notion of a brand new “cloudlike” political strength that's dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts electronic applied sciences onto older methods of exerting strength over a inhabitants. yet simply because we make investments the cloud with cultural fantasies approximately safety and participation, we fail to acknowledge its militarized origins and beliefs. relocating among the materiality of the expertise itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu’s account deals a suite of recent instruments for rethinking the modern electronic atmosphere.

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4 Still from Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation, 1974. mean, I offer a fictional example that captures both the extremes of paranoia and possibly a way out. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film The Conversation tells the story of a surveillance expert who monitors other people’s phone calls and picks up acoustic signals with a boom mike to reconstruct their conversations. This expert is an interpreter who pieces together the network of people supposedly involved in an assassination plot. 4). The camera shows Gene Hackman tearing his own apartment apart looking for the bug, an autoimmune response to the paranoid gaze (or the paranoid ear, in this case).

54 BART deployed the network in the name of public safety and then disabled the network in the face of the protest, again in the name of public safety. The BART case may be the first in a series of autoimmune responses to network fever. Rather than reading this shutdown as a one-time exception or an overreaction, I am suggesting that it reveals something systemic about the way that paranoid imagination of networks manifests itself, when the network of Internet-enabled protesters is again conflated with the communications network.

What you cannot avoid is that the telephone wires be simultaneously tangled 18 CHAPTER 1 and the telegraphic instruments take strange and unexplainable fits. ”44 The crossed signals of a network become the crossed arms of labor; the “strange and unexplainable fits” that indicate a technical glitch are the paths that the wires will take absent the maintenance that labor puts into it. Though the histories of labor and telecommunications have been intertwined from the start, the former tends to drop out of its telling, and infrastructure has come to exclusively stand for computer machinery.

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