By Tung-Hui Hu
We could 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 which could use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even a majority of these info facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. in 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 life. during this booklet, Tung-Hui Hu examines the distance among the genuine and the digital in our knowing of the cloud.
Hu exhibits 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 pcs to chilly battle bunkers that have been later reused as information facilities. Countering the preferred notion of a brand new “cloudlike” political energy 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 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 collection of recent instruments for rethinking the modern electronic setting.
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Additional resources for A Prehistory of the Cloud
For one increasingly begins to suspect that the rapid proliferation of networks may be common cause of both “electronic” and “territorial” wars. It is this book’s contention that the graft may have more than a descriptive use; the graft may also serve as a method of analysis, a way of uncovering a structural relationship between power and networks. To understand the irruption of war (specifically, the older, nominally obsolescent variety concerned with territory) into network culture, I will move between the present day and the Cold War era when the Internet’s predecessor networks were designed.
But behind this is an ideology that the tangle of wire with worker can be permanently separated. I have used the example of labor to correct a mythology that focuses on the network as a Cold War weapon against Soviet threats. But the larger issue at stake is that what I am calling the network—a way of thinking the connectedness between individual events—is always an “internal affair,” a matter of thinking internal deviations. Whether this is the State Department worker suspected of homosexuality, or the worker suspected of belonging to part of a devious network, the network is always already internally focused.
Writing about violence within the cloud is difficult because the violence is largely displaced elsewhere. 5-billion-year lifespan) is not as easy to tell. ” 31 Nixon’s insight is applicable beyond the realm of environmental activism (and the environmental footprint of the cloud); the cloud, too, enacts its own form of slow violence. 32 Yet the cloud, this book argues, causes a double displacement: the displacement of place itself from sight, but also a temporal displacement. A Prehistory of the Cloud attempts to reframe this discussion.
A Prehistory of the Cloud by Tung-Hui Hu