F’13 Studio: Sonia Flamberg

505a Graduate Design Studio: Liam Young

It is currently estimated that more than one exabyte of data is stored in 'the cloud'. In physical terms, this is over 250 million DVDs or 67 million 16 gig iPhones. 'The cloud', in this sense, is a gross misnomer, because that 67 million iPhones worth of data is stored physically, and it is kept in enormous data centers in industrial parks on the periphery of our cities, under the care of privatized corporate data storage firms. There are, however, new material technologies under development that would exponentially increase our storage flexibility, enabling new forms of proximity to our data and novel modes of reading it. Information once communicated visually could be rendered legible as texture or as sound.

The metropolis, in its capacity as an historical artifact, has always acted as a record of human culture. So what would it mean if the infrastructures already woven into its fabric were coated in additional layers of material information? What if our data returned from the fringe and lived together with us?