These three animations by Tobias Williams are inspired by today’s true eternal networks: the infrastructural elements of global information networks. If early net culture and the later cloud metaphor once promised escape from physical reality, an infrastructural aesthetic is now inseparable from the public perception of the Internet. Data centers, server racks, and colorful network cables became increasingly visible in the early 2010s. Corporations such as Google, who wanted to seem more transparent after Edward Snowden’s leaks on their abuse of personal data, often published such imagery. Magi System is assembled from images on Instagram, where algorithms now assist in creating near psychedelic visual taxonomies of Surveillance Capitalism’s infrastructural backbone.
The work is part of the culture program related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.