The All Infrared Line (TAIL)
2012 – ongoing
photographs, video installation, maps, archival material
read my essay ‘Robotic Arms, Crabs and Algos’
The All Infrared Line (TAIL) is an ongoing work which explores the history, geography and agency of the network infrastructure used by financial markets today. Today more than 95% of data traffic travels through cables in the deep sea: the so-called cloud is more like a huge underwater spaghetti. The never-ending race to reduce latency and maximise speed is accompanied by the need to find less vulnerable routes for these optic fiber cables. Cable systems providers are constantly searching for newer, safer ways to cross the ocean floors and avoid choke points. The quest to avoid such vulnerable choke points brings cable system operators to new places such as the Arctic or remote islands. Infrastructures—such as cables, tax laws or patents—are most of the time utterly boring, technical and hermetic. They run in the background so society can continue with its activities on the foreground. And yet, their implementation and operations are never smooth but create conflicts and new material hybrid zones. The optic fibre cables, for example, not only change the value of the piece of land on which they land, but also carve out their own legislative space which surrounds that piece of land. It is not only humans shaping this global computational network, but it shapes humans as well. The network has agency and performs on its own, thereby sculpting our geographical, legislative and political landscapes. TAIL explores and visualises this network as an agent and speculates on its future expansions at sea which is driven by finance’s inexhaustible quest for faster trading.