“Cloud-to-ground” is the scientific term for lightning that strikes directly into the ground. The title of this book, published in conjunction with the Israeli pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, is derived from this. It investigates the shifts in political power structure that result from the wide-spread use of cloud technology: the storage, processing and analysis of inconceivable amounts of data in computer “clouds”. The focus is on major infrastructure projects currently underway in Israel and the Middle East region. These include Nimbus, a major cloud project pursued by the Israeli government for which Google and Amazon are building new powerful data centers, or the Blue Raman fiber-optic cable across the Negev Desert, also laid by Google, which will bypass Egypt on its way from India to Europe and at the same time revive the ancient trade routes that passed through this country.
Cloud-to-ground also documents the decommissioning and demolition of countless telephone exchanges in Israel’s cities that have become obsolete. It thus brings to attention the physical nature of these largely ignored “black box” structures and connects them to the history of the Middle East and recent developments in global communication technology. Essays by prominent Israeli scholars are complemented by numerous photographs, sketches, and archival documents, as well as a newly compiled index of 140 telephone exchanges in Israel.
304 pages, 179 color and 232 b/w illustrations, 16.5 x 21.5 cm