ServerGarden is a multichannel sound installation with recordings of the buzzing sounds from servers in a data center.
Data infrastructure plays an increasingly important role in modern society. These structures, mostly consisting of cables of all sizes, are buried in the ground, on the bottom of the sea, hanging in towers and locked off in data centers; like a gigantic root net whose materiality is inaccessible to the individual. Perhaps this is why there is a tendency to understand “the web” as something intangible and romanticised as “the cloud”, while it is in fact very material, real and vulnerable when exposed, and which vital societal functions, everything from trains to hospitals, depend on to work.
In 2022, Morten Poulsen visited one of these “clouds”: a data center in Copenhagen. With microphones that picks up electromagnetic waves, which are normally out of the range of human hearing, he listened to the data center’s almost endless interconnected rows of servers that spins and beeps around the clock.
At the exhibition, these sounds, that are reminiscent of crickets, are presented in a site specific multichannel sound installation: 32 tiny loudspeakers with cables crawling around the entire space. The installation takes inspiration from Solarpunk; a sci-fi genre that unfolds in a post-climate disaster future where human-made technologies enter into close, intricate and sustainable relationships with nature rather than dominating and suppressing it.
Title: ServerGarden Production year: 2022/23 Exhibited on 03.03 to 18.05 2023 at Fraktal – Ventesal for samtidskunst, lyd og poesi (Skørping DK) Supported by Danish Arts Council, KODA, Den Obelske Familiefond & Rebild Kommune Thanks to Per Henriksen & Mette Lucca Jensen Photos by Morten Poulsen See documentation from the data center here.