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By Tung-Hui Hu

We may perhaps think the electronic cloud as placeless, mute, airy, and unmediated. but the truth of the cloud is embodied in hundreds of thousands of big info facilities, anybody of which may use as a lot electrical energy as a midsized city. Even these types of info facilities are just one small a part of the cloud. in the back of that cloud-shaped icon on our monitors is a complete universe of applied sciences and cultural norms, all operating to maintain us from noticing their lifestyles. during this publication, Tung-Hui Hu examines the space among the genuine and the digital in our realizing 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 pcs to chilly struggle bunkers that have been later reused as info facilities. Countering the preferred conception 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 safeguard 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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This paranoia, Derrida argues, is ultimately a type of autoimmune disease in which “repression . . 49 It would be incorrect to consider terror a new phenomenon that has arisen since the weakening of nation-states after the Cold War. Perhaps THE SHAPE OF THE NETWORK 21 the first historical moment of modern terrorism, Derrida argues, was the Reign of Terror, carried out in the name of the French state. 50 Thus when scholars write about a new form of distributed power invented to immunize us from the nuclear strike, and, more generally, from the older forms of war that it represents, something seems to go awry.

The messy road network demands, for Doxiadis, a single solution. “We must coordinate all of our Networks now. ”27 Network fever is the desire to connect all networks, indeed, the desire to connect every piece of information to another piece. And to construct a system of knowledge where everything is connected is, as psychoanalysis tells us, the sign of paranoia. In other words, network fever cannot be separated from the network, because the network is its fever. The cloudlike nature of the network has much less to do with its structural or technological properties than the way that we perceive and understand it; seen properly, the cloud resides within us.

If we are not able to escape the throes of network fever, we might as well take pleasure from its deviances. Truckstop Networks (Portola Valley, California) Take pleasure, or at least make art. In the 1960s through the 1970s, several groups of engineers from California were trying to find an alternative to the centralized network. Not all of these engineers were working for RAND or other military-funded laboratories, however; many of them were artists. And for them, as for much of the rest of the country, the networks they were designing did not necessarily involve digital data.

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