My purchase of a new hard drive last month ended two years of battling with scarce digital storage space on my computer — and it felt like defeat. I have great difficulty justifying to myself this sprung-out-of-nowhere need; one that I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago, and that no human would have envisioned half a century ago.
On the other side of the world-wide fabrication and shipping chain, tremendous amounts of energy are amassed, transformed, funneled and discarded so that I may flip more ones and zeros on a desk. This hidden facet of a seemingly innocuous process is scary, fascinating, and far-reaching. I have begun exploring this relationship –that between the brutal earth-bound hardware and the mesmerizing, floating software– as time allows. Bathing in thermodynamics surely helps; I’m also greatly helped and entertained by André Gorz’s writings as well as that of the iconoclastic Huber & Mills (I’d gladly take more recommendations). If by springtime I have learned enough, I’ll try to gather it all in the form of a talk at SIGINT11 in Köln.