For this edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Irish Pavilion focuses on data technologies and their presence within the physical landscape, exploring the cultural end environmental implications of data production and consumption. Titled Entanglement and curated by the multidisciplinary research and design collective ANNEX, the exhibition challenges the presumed immateriality of the Cloud, highlighting the infrastructure of data production and its impact on everyday life while also examining Ireland’s role in the evolution of global communication.
Ireland has historically been the scene of significant break-troughs in communication, as the landing spot of the first commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866 and the transmission spot of the first wireless radio message across the Atlantic in 1901. Today, Dublin is the data centre hub of Europe, hosting 25% of all available European server space. Recent years have seen the cities and suburbs of Ireland populate with a myriad of data centres, fibre optic cable networks and energy grids, and by 2027, the data infrastructure is expected to consume a third of Ireland’s electricity.
Drawing from the historical and contemporary role of Ireland in communication and data, the exhibition builds a parallel between information distribution and the production of heat, referencing the archetypal social space of the campfire. The Pavilion illustrates the extent to which people are producing, consuming and disseminating data across the globe through a series of real-time thermographic imaging technologies that juxtapose critical sites associated with data infrastructure in Ireland with traces of human activity in the Arsenale. In addition, the exhibition aims to highlight the scale and interweaving of data infrastructure networks, revealing “how a Facebook ‘like’ in Malaysia can trigger the emission of heat from a server on the outskirts of Dublin.”
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The curatorial team ANNEX comprises Sven Anderson, Alan Butler, David Capener, Donal Lally, Clare Lyster and Fiona McDermott. They are architects, artists and urbanists, whose work includes subject areas such as computer science, gaming platforms, technology and public space, data centres, sensor technology, and large technical systems.
- Commissioner: Culture Ireland
- Curators/Exhibitors: Annex (Sven Anderson / Alan Butler / David Capener / Donal Lally / Clare Lyster / Fiona McDermott)