By Tung-Hui Hu
We may possibly think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in hundreds of thousands of big information facilities, anybody of that may 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 a complete universe of applied sciences and cultural norms, all operating to maintain us from noticing their lifestyles. during this booklet, Tung-Hui Hu examines the space among the genuine and the digital in our knowing of the cloud.
Hu indicates that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer traces, 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 info facilities. Countering the preferred belief 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 energy over a inhabitants. yet simply because we make investments the cloud with cultural fantasies approximately defense 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 setting.
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Extra resources for A Prehistory of the Cloud
Excited by the potential of this new technology, the late 1960s and early 1970s became a test bed for questions that would preoccupy network culture: If you could design a two-way, “feedback network,” could you even out the structures of power and create a more participatory media environment? 5 Paul Ryan and Claude Ponsot, “Klein Worms,” in Radical Software 1, no. 3 (1971); Labadie Collection, University of Michigan Library. And if you could change the media, would its viewers see differently?
Claude Ponsot illustrates an article about the structure of cybernetics and guerilla tactics with whimsical mathematical diagrams dubbed “Klein worms,” after the topologically impossible Klein bottle. 5). These earlier moments of reconfiguring the network structure hold uncanny parallels to modern-day digital networks. ) to compete with AT&T by renting CATV circuits; a “‘quasi-laser’ broadcasting system . . [that] transmits up to 15 miles,” a technology pioneered by MCI that will anticipate fiber-optic cable; the US Defense Department satellites, along with Soviet and the commercial Comsat networks.
The reader will readily observe that when I use the word “network,” I mean something a little different from its common definition. Because reality can never match up to that system of belief, because, in fact, not everything is connected, the network exists primarily as a state of desire. Studying the metro Detroit area in 1972, the architect and urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis declared: “Our child, our city is sick. We look only at the symptoms and we do not understand the causes. We are frightened.
A Prehistory of the Cloud by Tung-Hui Hu