PhD Project

Head in the Cloud: Tracing the Internet as Embodied Media in the Swiss and Austrian Alps

PhD-Projekt at the ECAM Graduate School (MAKE/SENSE) in Basel, Switzerland, and the University of Art and Design Linz, Austria.
Supervised by Prof Karin Harrasser (Linz) and Prof Dorothée King (Basel).

The PhD project Head in the Cloud – Tracing the Internet as Embodied Media in the Swiss and Austrian Alps addresses the materiality of the Internet, hidden behind the metaphor of the Cloud. Arguing that the metaphor obscures industrial-age, extractive processes used to build the global Internet, the project focuses on discerning and documenting the stories and realities of human as well as non-human interaction with physical Internet infrastructure. The chosen site of study are the Alps, at once a fragile ecosystem affected by climate change, site of energy production, and place of consumption and pollution.

This project argues that it is in places as this, far away from most extraction and processing of resources for Internet infrastructure, where the narrative of the Cloud can be at its most pervasive, yet still supplemented by complementary or counter-narratives that speak to the materiality of the medium. By engaging in ‘poetic anthropology’ through the combination of a series of qualitative interviews and the artistic representation of the obtained data in a film project of speculative fabulation, the research endeavor primarily aims for a better understanding of the socio-ecological effects of the Internet in the Alps. The secondary aim of the research project is to explore the role of artistic practices as methods of knowledge acquisition and communication in the midst of a climate crisis.

Due to this project being carried out in English, there is no German translation yet.

sag hallo