3 channel video, 2.1 channel sound, computer network traffic data, computer-generated sound and video

Polymorphism is an updated development of a series of works that create sensory investigations of the imperceptible conditions of computation. This 3-channel audio-visual installation works with and around data: materialising this as sound and video in an attempt to break the disarticulation between thinking of data as an abstract, infinite, repeatable entity and its actual implementation in massive, energy-intensive data centres.

One channel of the work, Polymorphism, presents a 3D-simulation of the interior of a data centre — presenting the mechanical and spatial infrastructure of the cloud. The other two channels of video are generated by processing network traffic data — in Data Archive a series of robots incessantly move tape disks back and forth within a virtual kinetic data storage unit, and in Abstract Circuits a simple computational memory circuit is activated by network data and materialised as a cross between a circuit diagram and interactive visualisation.

These works look to the far ends of the spectrum of digital structures — on one pole is the micro world of circuits, voltage differences and binary code, and towards the other pole is the massive infrastructure of data centres. These facilities are located in highly restricted, massive buildings with no windows — a realisation of a “black box” system. Data centres occupy a strange and indistinct space, yet they are incredibly important to the operation of digital processes that are omnipresent in society such as the internet and cloud computing.

Polymorphism presents computation as something that is resolutely physical, contextually determined and much more complex than is typically thought. In these works the materialisation of a data is performed in order to show the imperceptibility of data itself; and the ways in which data is physically in the world have great impacts on ecologies, environments and experience.

Polymorphism (Data Centre Simulation) (4:33 loop)

Data Archive (excerpt) (generative — ongoing duration)

Abstract Circuits (excerpt) (generative — ongoing duration)