23 September, 13:00 CEST
*Sold out* The Hmm’s Data Centre Tour
A Walk around Google and Microsoft’s Hyperscale Data Centre in the Wieringermeerpolder
Data centres are a crucial part of our internet infrastructure, and yet they remain black boxes in the landscape and highly invisible structures we don’t think about often enough. But how do these data centres impact the places in which they are built and the communities that live there? And what impact are data centres already having on the global environment? Data centres use huge amounts of power and water resources, although they are only required to publish these usage numbers starting from 2024 in the EU. What resources are necessary for our online infrastructures, and who gets to decide how they are implemented?
During this very special field trip we will take a tourbus from Amsterdam to the industrial park Agriport in the Wieringermeerpolder, which houses Google’s and Microsoft’s hyperscale data centres. During our hike around these huge constructions, we will take a look at how they came into existence, their infrastructure, and contemplate our relationship with data centres and what possible alternatives we could imagine taking place in these landscapes.
We are proud to introduce Marloes de Valk, a software artist, writer, and PhD researcher, who co-organised this event with us. She has been following the development of the data centres in the Wieringermeerpolder for a long time.
🗓 Date: Saturday 23 September 2023
🕗 Program starts: 1 PM CEST
🕗 Approximate return time: 5.30 PM CEST
📍 Bus pick-up and drop-off location: NDSM-plein, Amsterdam
🎟 Tickets: standard €35 / student discount €25
Marloes de Valk
Marloes de Valk is a software artist and writer in the post-despair stage of coping with the threat of global warming and being spied on by the devices surrounding her. She is a PhD researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University, looking into the material and social impact of the networked image on the climate crisis, with special attention to the entanglements between greenwashing and the increasing energy and resource consumption associated with the circulation of networked images.
TITiPI & Varia
The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest, a trans-practice gathering of activists, artists, engineers and theorists initiated by Miriyam Aouragh, Seda Gürses, Helen Pritchard and Femke Snelting, collaborates with Varia (Nazanin Karimi and Cristina Cochior) to insert some on-the-road cloud resistance. Expect to return home from the tour with a lovely interactive souvenir that reminds you of the fact that the data centre was always already in your pocket. TITiPi Varia
Lars Ruiter is a councilor in the Dutch municipality of Hollands Kroon since 2018. He was involved in a flawed and non-transparent democratic political process of attracting over 200 hectares of hyperscale data centres to the municipality in which he is currently living. By deeper investigating the societal disadvantages and side effects on the environment, he was able—together with many others—to start a more balanced public debate about data centres on a national scale. His ultimate goal is to secure more room for political participation when considering whether or not to attract data centres.
Negar Sanaan Bensi & Paul Cournet
Paul Cournet is an architect and editor in Rotterdam. He founded CLOUD, a creative agency that focuses on architecture, research, and design. Negar Sanaan Bensi is an architect, educator, and researcher. She is a lecturer at the faculty of Architecture at TU Delft and the chair of Borders and Territories. She holds a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture. Together they taught the studio DATAPOLIS at TU Delft and edited a book that carries the same name, which was published earlier this year. Link