Cloud of Cards. The (coming) book

A sneak peek into the coming book that will present and discuss the design process as well as  its results, sorted out from this documentary blog. Design EUROSTANDARD with a new font by NORM.


As announced a few times already, two books in print-on-demand will summarize the overall research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), at the term of the design and ethnographic process we went through during almost three years.

Bratton H. B. (2016). The Stack, On Software and Sovereignty


(…). In an account that is both theoretical and technical, drawing on political philosophy, architectural theory, and software studies, Bratton explores six layers of The Stack: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User.

Each is mapped on its own terms and understood as a component within the larger whole built from hard and soft systems intermingling — not only computational forms but also social, human and physical forces. This model, informed by the logic of the multilayered structure of protocol “stacks”, in which network technologies operate within a modular and vertical order, offers a comprehensive image of our emerging infrastructure and a platform for its ongoing reinvention. (…).


Note: recently published by the MIT Press — as well as quoted as a work in progress by Lucien Langton in a post back in 2015 — comes this book by Prof. Benjamin H. Bratton.

It consists in a comprehensive analysis, both technical and phylosophical of what we could call “The Cloud”, yet what Bratton describes as a world scale “stack” consisting in 6 layers: Earth, Cloud, City, Address, Interface, User (and which interestingly is not so distant to our own approach considering the user, the interface, the infrastructure and the territory).

Tweetbacks (“Twitter feedbacks”) of SDN Unfrozen Conference

Feedbacks “on the go” of the SDN 2016 Research Conference — to which we took part last week presenting I&IC, all three of us: Nicolas Nova, Christophe Guignard and Patrick Keller — can be read and seen (lots of images as well) on the SDN Twitter account at the following address and/or with the #unfrozen2016 hashtag.


Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), a design research teaser about misunderstandings and paradoxes …


At the occasion of the first peer reviewed conference we’ll take part with the I&IC project (Renewable Futures in Riga) and following the exhibition at H3K last Summer 2015 (Poetics and Politics of Data), Lucien Langton edited and produced a short teaser about our design research that dive into misunderstandings and paradoxes that concern the “Cloud(s)”!


Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s), can “weather affect cloud computing”? from design research on Vimeo.



OpenCloud (Academic Research) Mesh

Note: When we had to pick an open source cloud computing platform at the start of our research, we dug for some time to pick the one that would better match with our planned activities. We chose ownCloud and explained our choice in a previous post, so as some identified limitations linked to it. Early this year came this announcement by ownCloud that it will initiate “Global Interconnected Private Clouds for Universities and Researchers” (with early participants such has the CERN, ETHZ, SWITCH, TU-Berlin, University of Florida, University of Vienna, etc.) So it looks like we’ve picked the right open platform! Especially also because they are announcing a mesh layer on top of different clouds to provide common access across globally interconnected organizations.

This comforts us in our initial choice and the need to bridge it with the design community, especially as this new “mesh layer” is added to ownCloud, which was something missing when we started this project (from ownCloud version 7.0, this scalability became available though). It now certainly allows what we were looking for: a network of small and personal data centers. Now the question comes back to design: if personal data centers are not big undisclosed or distant facilities anymore, how could they look like? For what type of uses? If the personal applications are not “file sharing only” oriented, what could they become? For what kind of scenarios?



Donaghy, R. (2011). Co-opting the Cloud: An Architectural Hack of Data Infrastructure. Graduate thesis work.

Part of our bibliography (among different works by architects –K. Varnelis– or about the Internet infrastructure –T. Arnall, A. Blum–) and published in Clog (2012), this thesis work by R. Donaghy presents an interesting hack of the data center infrastructure (centered on the hardware and mostly on the object “data center” in this case).

The work is digital published online on ISUU and can be accessed here (p. 134-150).

Mejias, U. A. (2013). Off the Network, The University of Minnesota Press.



Note: Off the Network, a book by Ulises Ali Mejias that is interesting to read when it comes to objectify and question the network paradigm. Beyond the praise about participation and inclusiveness that was widely used by network advocates and now also by marketing companies, Off the Network brings a critical voice and addresses the centralization, or in some other cases the “nodocentrism” that is at work through many global online services, so as the commodification of many aspects of our lives that comes with them.

While we are looking for alternative “architectures” for cloud infrastructure, nodes and services, this is a “dissonant” point of view to take into account and a book that we are integrating into the I&IC bibliography.