The Clouds (3 of 3)

Another installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything.

The landing from the digital onto the material is hard; it comes with a cruelty and intensity we haven’t even begun to properly understand. — Metahaven

Metahaven is Daniel Van Der Velden and Vinca Kruk and I got the chance to meet them when they were in NYC this winter for a show at MoMA PS. They have been studying the connections between the digital and the material for years in their museum shows, design work and collaborative projects.

I spoke with them about their essay “Captives of the Clouds” serialized in the journal e-flux.. They use the story of Wikileaks to expose the infrastructure of the cloud. I now believe November 30th, 2010 just might be the actual birthday of the cloud (a day almost in the middle of our Justin Bieber timeline from episode one).

The BBC’s Paul Mason has done some serious reporting on Rare Earth but he told me that on the last night of a trip he made in late 2009 he realized he would have a much easier time getting the story right in a novel.

I read a lot about Rare Earth for this radio series and this novel was by far the most enlightening (and the most fun).

On my last night in China I met up with an old friend who used to run a Chinese blog business. In 2007 he came through New York and told me he was determined to do something tangible, something more real. Now he uses the cloud to power his very successful online mail order business that connects customers with Chinese factories. He takes me to a bar (very much like one described in Paul Mason’s novel) where I finally get some…clarity? All thanks to a pile of iPhones.