Richard Broomhall

Critical Network Aesthetics and Data Transfer Geographies in the South West United Kingdom and Bristol Channel (University of the West of England) 2018 -

Personal Log: 07:43 March 22nd 2013. Widemouth Bay, Cornwall, UK.

Sand is loose and saline saturated underfoot, a tripod leg begins to sink, shot framing skews upward, focus wanders. The sky over the cable landfall is the colour of analogue television, tuned to frequencies finally freed from sponsored signal traffic. The ocean’s surface is it’s troubled mirror. At our backs, a diamond sign; red text on faded yellow fill, 6 meters aloft. Crosswinds tear my celebratory breath, “We’re standing on the spine of the internet…” Sharp glance slips to wry smile as the woman in the cerulean scarf shifts attention from her glowing, cradled palm “Is that why I can’t get a frikkin data connection?”.


Clouded Glass and a Politics of Light (CGPL) is a critical study of the histories of construction, ownership and bandwidth leasing patterns; environmental impacts & materiality of inter & transnational data network infrastructure in the South West United Kingdom & Bristol Channel. CGPL aims to reveal the patterns of politics that have supported the development of network infrastructures from their origins in copper cable colonialism, through cold war co-axial systems to our present moment of total internal reflection within an accidental fibre optic megastructure.


Can these technological marvels built from collective human and non human ingenuity, mass labour exploitation, fast depleting mineral stocks and lust for Empire ever achieve their emancipatory potential? Can research led media art practice push back against prevailing market forces and help renew the vigour of a desperately needed drive towards networked emancipation, the end of surveillance capitalism and the imagination of new, more equitable networks of networks?


Supervision Team: Dr Patrick Crogan (Director of Studies), Dr Teresa Dillon and Dr Steven Poole


Contact: richard2.broomhall@live.uwe.ac.uk