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FILET ﷯ Intervention by Esther Leslie Lately my thoughts keep revolving around vague entities, almost qualities rather than things, but they are things, vague things: fog, froth and foam. These nebulous entities keep nagging at me. I suppose it is an extension of an obsession that grew over the past years, an obsession with the cloud, which tracked another patch of nebulousness from its airy fairy existence in the sky, its watery, paper melded coexistence in Constable's watercolours, its dark gloomy imprecision that effected corruption and doom in John Ruskin's storm-cloud of the nineteenth century, its obfuscatory glare in Nazi propaganda films, its promise of better days in Hollywood logos, its self-reflexive but virtually intangible presence in Peter Gidal's film of same, all the way down to its fuzzy mental emanation of something concrete that is a data infrastructure, at one of whose hubs we now stand in a London that today’s edition of Computer Business Review says, 'is shaping up to be a world leader in digital technology, as it remains the leading city for EU tech talent', with over a quarter of a million software workers, more than any other European city. Here in the midst of the clouds, which might be imagined as a fuzz but equally as a tangle of cables, wires, lines, or even as its opposite grids, triangulations of points, something angular, the reflex of digital cartography's satelite imaging and geographic information systems. So the cloud led me to the fog. If you think about the cloud it encompasses you and then you are in fog. Not just the fog of the London particular, or particulate, the fog of pollution, bad air, or the fog of too much moisture on the land, the fog that is the cloud on the ground, not Ernst Bloch's hopeful one, the heavens brought down to earth, the world transformed in uprighting, righting itself, but a blurry all-encompassing atmosphere in which nothing can be seen, nothing mapped, nothing communicated, at least not for us. The fog makes us blind, our devices perhaps not though. And the fog in computing terms comes to be a new phenomenon, a new nature, just as Ruskin's storm cloud, plague cloud, black cloud was seen by him quite precisely as a new natural phenomenon, brought about by social and moral and economic forces. The fog of fogcomputing is being worked on in our environs, as cities adopt the protocols of smart cities, smart infrastructure, services, data collection and analysis, the Internet of Things all knitted in a soup of intelligence, hyped as if it were like the primal one that cooked up a plasma that became human. An Internet of Things sets objects in communication with each other, and out of their needs to communicate comes the fog of tangles and capacitors, which becomes a network, a smart grid, a fogging, that might lend itself to other vague uses: compute power, storage of data, applications! These are brought closer to the location where data is gathered, the results, the outputs distributed but held near, not alienated into the far off cloud, but surrounding us, all about, we are within, it is without us, perhaps in all senses. Here in the fog efficiencies of processing occur, quick results, securely held, short term analytics. Things and things in a fog, we too in a fog. A fog made in San Francisco, CISCO, now available locally. These metaphors take off, roll in like clouds and fog, steer our technologies, remake language and imagination. And if we were to think about mapping our world, about cognitive mapping, about getting our bearings now, in the fogging, would we say that it runs in two ways, one is that the precision is possible and absolute, for we all, or at least our devices all, always stand at a triangulation of forces, a location that is forever monitored and known, and not just by us, but by all those parties interested in our movements, more tracked than a stalkee or a Stasi person of interest. But also, in the opposite way, we have never been more lost, more unaware of where we are and what also occupies our space, maps it cognitively, intelligently, and to what ends this is done. Foam has been another thing that presses itself on my imagination. Peter Sloterdyck wrote thousands of pages on foam as a model of our social world, bubbles, many microbubbles sharing walls but not touching. there may be something in that, and certainly talk of the bubble, the London bubble, the media bubble, the housing bubble, the Bitcoin bubble and so on, though I have still to puncture the essentially reactionary core of Sloterdyck's thought. So I turn to froth, as an image to think with, froth, the mass of small bubbles caused by agitation, fermentation, salivating, anger. Froth is emotional and political foam. It is a fog made palpable, made object, sat atop a thousand chainstore coffees, the very sign of transience, a trivial froth that pops and passes, its movements and rates, its dissipations hard to map. Hard to map. That froth seems to me to be an emblem of now, of here, off our fogged sense of things and us. There is a new spatial protocol called FOAM, aiming at a self-described 'consensus driven map of the world'. FOAM is an open protocol for decentralized, geospatial data markets. The developers note ' Whoever controls the map defines how we navigate the world' and they are keen to displace Google and HERE, the leading companies, and Open Street Map through the blockchain technology Ethereum and is programmable money. FOAM uses the market, economic incentive to validate geospatial data. Truth is bought. They say economics makes it truer. So the maps we will use can have one thing said of them: where we stand is concrete, possesses not the airyness of clouds, is the result of a monetization of open source standards, is more speculative froth. Install Photographs
 Install photos Martim Ramos, 2018, FILET