Traditionally, anthropologists would travel to a faraway land and live among a group of people so as to learn as much about their culture and ways of life as possible. Today, however, we conduct fieldwork with people in our own culture just as much as those from others. As such, I am currently working alongside people from diverse areas of the data center industry in order to explore how data center practices and discourses imaginatively intersect with ideas of security, resilience, disaster, and the digital future.
Data centers pervade our lives in ways that many of us probably don’t even realize and we rely on them for even the most mundane activities, from supermarket shopping to satellite navigation. These data infrastructures now underpin such an incredible range of activities and utilities across government, business, and society that it is important we begin to pay attention to them.