The information society, as an ideological formation, has previously been identified as celebrating speed and ephemerality: overcoming of boundaries, destabilization of identities and the dissapearance of distance (Mosco 2004). This paper however analyzes an ideological shift within digital culture. The paper identifies this shift as accompanying new business models, associated with what is often referred to as cloud computing. The success of this computing paradigm, we claim, is dependent on the construction of a new ideology, in which information is not only identified with speed and ephemerality but also stability and durability.
Empirically the paper concerns data centers: large, dedicated buildings in which interconnected servers are used to store and process digital information, utilized for commercial or administrative purposes by governments, organizations, and companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Data-centres are what Lisa Parks have called “obscure objects of media studies” (Parks 2009:101). They are hidden, out of sight, inconspicuous and often placed far from population centres. But at the same time they are “material imaginaries” comparable to the houses of large media corporations (cf. Ericson & Riegert 2010). They are conciously inscribed in a number of symbolic and ephemeral geographies. They are discursively – and not only materially – constructed as stabile, durable, lasting and safe. The purpose of the paper is to analyse how, by whom and with what purposes.
New York: Routledge, 2012. 103-118 p.