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The StackOn Software and Sovereignty$
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Benjamin H. Bratton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029575

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029575.001.0001

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Earth Layer

Earth Layer

(p.75) Earth Layer
The Stack

Benjamin H. Bratton

The MIT Press

The foundational layer of The Stack is “Earth,” and this chapter examines how it operates as the substrate of each layer above. It begins with a consideration of the physical materials that go into the manufacture of information computing technologies. It reviews how Earth has been construed as a site for comprehensive data capture and management and links contemporary cyberinfrastructure projects with experimental Art and Architecture projects, each seeking to striate and envelope the globe. The chapter discusses the paradoxes of ecological governance, particularly how our empirical knowledge of climate change is provided by a panoptic global information apparatus that is itself a key contributor to the change that it models for us. This paradox symbolizes the difficulties of engineering ‘smart grids’ that can achieve net energy savings despite the extraordinary expenditures necessary to build them. Regarding ecological governance, the chapter also discusses how climate change produces new tactical jurisdictions of those affected by it in a similar way and of those whose energy output produces it in a similar way.

Keywords:   Smart Grid, Supply Chains, Ecology, Politics of Energy, Networked Sensing, Geography, Land Art, Architecture, Climate Change, Ecological Governance, Philosophy of Computation, Satellite Monitoring

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