In "The Cloud": Figuring and Inhabiting Media Milieus

Wark, Scott. 2022. In "The Cloud": Figuring and Inhabiting Media Milieus. In: Celia Lury; William Viney and Scott Wark, eds. Figure: Concept and Method. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-63. ISBN 9789811924750 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Our discussions of digital media are full of figures. This chapter proposes that figures provide a means for making sense of how complex, distributed, and opaque media-technical systems inform, condition, and shape contemporary life.

Starting with the premise that figures are woven through the vernacular language we use to describe media, this chapter argues that figures are essential for making sense of the shaping and conditioning influence that media-technical systems exercise on contemporary life. It develops this proposition by placing the example of cloud computing in dialogue with Donna J. Haraway’s concept of figures. Cloud computing is a figure that renders heterogeneous, complex, and often-unrepresentable media-technical systems inhabitable. That is, this figure constructs a distributed media-technical system as an inhabitable “milieu.” Conversely, cloud computing also reveals figures’ methodological potential for “figuring”: that is, they can also be used to understand how computational systems construct modes of inhabitation.

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Book Section

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Media, Cloud computing, Inhabitation, Infrastructure, Donna J. Haraway Milieu

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


27 October 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2024 15:28

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2024 15:28


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