The project emerges from the acknowledgement of the growing phenomena of archive fever (Derrida, 1995). Driven by the need, obligation, desire or simply possibility to store a growing amount of both – physical objects and digital data, and encouraged with a constantly increasing capacity of digital media storage – we keep on gathering more. Often unconsciously or with little curation of the collected content, we keep on creating a limitless cloud archive, that has an overwhelming physical presence that takes over hectare after hectare of land. Huge, anonymous, dark and hot space, placed in a remote location – that is a typical data centre. Blending into the neighbouring storage halls is easily omitted and stays hidden from the public sight.
Data storage came a long way from the representative architecture of banks, archives and city halls to a unit defined storage facility. Therefore, one may say that data centre is a continuation of the typology of storing and archiving. And a storage type that emerges is an opaque container defined by the size of a stored unit – server. These content defined buildings, technical as they are, allow for almost no human presence, but do potentially manage through their sheer size to organize and control the context they inhabit, the territory. One cannot underestimate their urban impact.
Current trends in technology, among others, the Internet of Things and a growing amount of latency dependent applications will generate a need to introduce data into the cities. That gives a unique opportunity to redefine existing data centre typology. Even though data is already fully integrated and present in our lives, we rarely acknowledge it. What is more, due to a lack of understanding of data flows we are often excluded from the discussion on the degree of its presence in our lives or surveillance.
The proposed project, is a gesture that brings data, technology, citizens and urban context together, emphasizing interconnections and interdependence of all aforementioned. This way introducing one of the most significant elements of our infrastructure physically into the culture, giving digital data a physical weight and interface. Creating friction between public and private, human and machine – that are completely dependent on each other and cannot function without the other.