Book > Ethnographic field study about the cloud

More than a year after our last publication on this blog and the end of the scientific part of the design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), we’re very happy to signal the publication of two books in Print on Demand (Lulu) and their accompanying free PDFs.

One book concerns the ethnographic the ethnographic research: Cloud of Practices, while the other is dedicated to the design research and its results and uses many of the resources published on this blog along the process: Cloud of Cards.

A website gives access to the results of the research in the form of a kit:


Cloud of Practices:

Download the free PDF on the Cloud of Cards website (under “Publications” link), or buy the paperback version on Lulu.

Graphic design by Eurostandard; Photography of the final artifacts by Daniela & Tonatiuh.


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I&IC design research at “Bot Like Me” conference, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris

Note: At the invitation of Sophie Lamparter (Swissnex San Francisco) and Luc Meier (EPFL ArtLab), we had the pleasure to present the current process and outcomes of our joint design research project in Paris, at Centre Culturel Suisse (CCS). This helped us collect meaningful impressions and comments about the ongoing work.

The conference was given last Friday and Saturday (02-03.12) in the company and attendance of an excellent line up (!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Nicolas Nova, Yves Citton, Tobias Revell & Nathalie Kane, Rybn, Joël Vacheron, Gwenola Wagon, Hannes Grasseger, I&IC’s research assistants Lucien Langton & Léa Pereyre,  so as many others!)

Together with Nicolas Nova, we presented the almost final state of our joint research project Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s), at a time when we are entering the prototyping of the final artifacts (deliverables).


Via Centre Culturel Suisse (in French)



Du vendredi 2 au samedi 3 décembre 2016


Bot Like Me
interventions en anglais


A l’occasion de l’exposition de !MedienGruppe Bitnik, et avec la complicité du duo d’artistes zurichois, Sophie Lamparter (directrice associée de swissnex San Francisco) et Luc Meier (directeur des contenus de l’EPFL ArtLab, Lausanne) ont concocté pour le CCS un événement de deux jours composé de conférences, tables rondes et concerts, réunissant scientifiques, artistes, écrivains, journalistes et musiciens pour examiner les dynamiques tourmentées des liens homme-machine. Conçues comme une plateforme d’échange à configuration souple, ces soirées interrogeront nos rapports complexes, à la fois familiers et malaisés, avec les bots qui se multiplient dans nos environnements ultra-connectés.

I&IC at Renewable Futures Conference in Riga

The design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) will be presented during the peer reviewed Renewable Futures Conference next week in Riga (Estonia), which will be the first edition of a serie that promiss to scout for radical approaches.

Christophe Guignard will introduce the participants to the stakes and the progresses of our ongoing work. There will be profiled and inspiring speakers such as Lev Manovitch, John Thackara, Andreas Brockmann, etc.




Decentralization tools – links

By Thursday, April 2, 2015 Tags: 0103, ABCD, Links, Tools Permalink 0

A brief post on additional open-source services, software, hardware, community and art projects we stumbled upon during our ongoing research: (service) enables users to retrieve their Facebook data, anonymize it and sell it back for market value. We’re not sure it’s legit (there’s a security warning while loading the site). It however seems to be the same people behind another service of the sort: (community) is a community-powered free wireless network originating from Germany. (community) is an open, free and neutral telecommunication network built piece by piece (by literally deploying cables and antennas) by the community. The project originates from Spain. (service, community) is a free tool to build and host your website at home. The project seems ambitious as it combines self-hosting hardware standards with a custom-made WYSIWYG webpage builder and a template repository fed by users (all webpages built become open-source templates). (software) is a mobile messaging app for Windows and Android. It uses Bluetooth and the movement of crowds to spread data and suppresses the need for operators, a bit like the Firechat app. It however seems that the project has been abandoned in 2009.

Uncloud (software) is an application that enables anyone with a laptop to create an open wireless network and share information. Users can connect wirelessly while remaining disconnected from the internet.

GoTenna (hardware) is a product enabling users to text and share their location even when there is no telecom tower or satellite coverage.

AirChat (software, hardware) is a free, secure and open-source telecommunication network built by LulzLabs working a laptop and a hacked radio. (speculative design) is a free and secure communications network hypothetically built and maintained by the community.

Project Maelstrom Last but not least, Project Maelstrom is BitTorrent latest proposition to decentralize web hosting through the BitTorrent protocol – We cannot help to ask ourselves: Is it still decentralization if it’s owned by a company?

Project Fi While we’re in the corporate sphere: Google is apparently aiming to take over the front-end costumor away from telecom companies. Perhaps decentralization is becoming just another marketing argument for companies who actually want centralize (read: capitalize on) your data.

We will continue to add links as our research goes forward. In the meanwhile, you can find all the links mentioned in the research project on Delicious under the tag “i&ic_designresearch” (note: also mentioned in this previous post, “Public Survey on Delicious“, within the Resources category on this blog).


For additional and updated resources, a Github is maintained that lists tools:

Reblog > Power, Pollution and the Internet

Via The New York Times (via Computed·By)



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jeff Rothschild’s machines at Facebook had a problem he knew he had to solve immediately. They were about to melt.


The company had been packing a 40-by-60-foot rental space here with racks of computer servers that were needed to store and process information from members’ accounts. The electricity pouring into the computers was overheating Ethernet sockets and other crucial components.

Thinking fast, Mr. Rothschild, the company’s engineering chief, took some employees on an expedition to buy every fan they could find — “We cleaned out all of the Walgreens in the area,” he said — to blast cool air at the equipment and prevent the Web site from going down.

That was in early 2006, when Facebook had a quaint 10 million or so users and the one main server site. Today, the information generated by nearly one billion people requires outsize versions of these facilities, called data centers, with rows and rows of servers spread over hundreds of thousands of square feet, and all with industrial cooling systems.

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.