Architecture, technology – By 2027, Ireland’s data centres are forecast to consume a third of the country’s total electricity demand. Curated by the ANNEX architectural collective, the Entanglement exhibition at the Irish Pavilion in Venice aims to raise awareness about “the materiality of the global internet and the cloud, which have infiltrated the Irish landscape through a vast constellation of data centres, fibre optic cable networks and energy grids.”
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Actually, “Dublin has now overtaken London as the data centre hub of Europe, hosting 25% of all available European server space.” And a Facebook ‘like’ in Malaysia can trigger the emission of heat from a server on the outskirts of Dublin.
A physical and digital tower features sixteen screens displaying real-time thermographic imaging technologies, with 24 fans generating cool air as a contrasting reminder of the heat produced by data centres – all fixed to a frame of charred materials.
In the background, 30-minute soundscapes of Valentia Island, one of Ireland’s most westerly points, play in a loop through a series of speakers. Visitors are invited to sit on 15 bespoke seats made from server frames and slate sourced from Valentia Island.
The Pavilion’s complex series of energy-intensive thermal transformations present an immersive and performative visitor experience – from visualising how people are producing, consuming and disseminating data across the globe to bringing transparency to the local and planetary scale of data infrastructure networks, for example.
The Entanglement exhibition exposes “the materiality of data and the interwoven human, environmental and cultural impacts of communication technologies,” say at ANNEX. The exhibition highlights how data production and consumption territorialise the physical landscape and examines Ireland as the home country of the pan-national evolution of data infrastructure.
Photos by – Courtesy of the Irish Pavilion.
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