Mark IJzerman

Opaque Oceans, Dim Data

Opaque Oceans, Dim Data (working title) is part of my ongoing artistic research into the intersection of digital and biological systems. During the research phase of my last project, pier pressure, I ran into pictures of Microsoft experimenting with cooling data centers by dumping them into the sea. You can see the image that stuck with me two images below- the first thing that is done when they take up the underwater server is to rid it of the creatures that are growing on the outside of the server- the crustaceans, the crabs, et cetera.

Opaque Oceans, Dim Data brings together two fields that are hidden to most people: that of undersea marine life as well as data servers housing the files that we put in the Cloud. In recent years big companies have started putting servers underwater for cooling, leading to data servers overgrown with crustaceans. My project asks: What if the data center was aware of the species growing on it? Can the data center be other species-inclusive? How can it support not only our data consumption but also other species?

Microsoft's underwater server experiment resurfaces after two years - The  Verge

Data center by Microsoft (courtesy of Microsoft)

Growth on a miniature data server in September 2023.

Growth on a miniature data server in September 2023, analyzed.