is a project initialized by Iris LONG and HE Zike in 2021. Port investigates the narrative about techno-infrastructures in China, with Guizhou as its first stop. Through the lens of "temporal stack", we discuss the solid, invariant, mundane, deadening, colossus, invisible/ignored "fundamental beings" (from infrastructures to geological environments) and their lifespan against the backdrop of deep time. The project intertwines perspectives of art-tech, history of science and technology, sociology, and science fiction, and encompasses various forms ranging from site visits, exhibitions, commission writings, and so on

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August 03 - 07, 2021



Participants(in alphabetical order):

BI Xin, CHEN Qiufan, CHEN Zian, GUO Cheng, GAO Yijie, LIU Xin, QIAN Shiyi, WANG Hongzhe, WANG Huan, YANG Beichen, ZHANG Wenxin

走访机构 | SITES

国家喀斯特石漠化防治工程技术研究中心  贵州师范大学喀斯特研究院
State Engineering Technology Institute for Karst Dessertification Control, School of Karst Science, Guizhou Normal University

贵州省射电天文数据处理重点实验室  中科院国家天文台·贵州师范大学天文研究与教育中心
Guizhou Provincial Key Laboratory of Radio Astronomy and Data Processing

Huawei Guizhou Cloud Development Innovation Center

Huawei Gui'an Data Center

Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Power China Guizhou Engineering Co, LTD

Guizhou Meterological Bureau

Guiyang Big Data Security Center

Five-hundred Meters Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope


在一张1940年的照片中,英国的旅游者们围绕在美国胡弗水坝的发电机前,历史学家David Nye将这个画面描述为对“技术崇高”的迷恋——“技术崇高”或许并非唯一的视角。技术产业“基础设施”从背景中的显现,它们之所以让人知觉其“存在”(有时以事故的方式),也根源于我们和基础设施之间关系的不确定、困惑和若即若离。地理学家Stephen Graham和Simon Marvin将基础设施视为“人类曾发明过的,最为庞大复杂的技术物。”社会学家Susan Leigh Star和Geoffrey Bowker则将有关基础设施的讨论延展为智性和机制的运作,包括如何设计基础设施所必须的测量标准、命名传统、分类系统、技术协议等。在诸多论述中,也有一些写作者细心地捕获了人们对这些退至视线之外之物所投射的,如面对无名物种一般的情绪共鸣。Lisa Parks对基础设施似有主动的“隐藏”(concealment)展开论说,它们“无法检测和被注意,有时索然无味”,而Steven Jackson则推演了一种他称之为“崩坏世界思考”的认识转移,他认为今日对科技和新媒介的思考,并非在于“创新、发展或设计”,而是“崩溃,解散和变迁。”


Port, Material Flow, Data Alleys is a site visit and writing commissioning project about the infrastructures of contemporary technologies. The first stop is Guizhou, China. The project invites researchers and writers from humanities and sociologies backgrounds to conduct site-visits to the "techno-infrastructures" ranging from data centers, "intelligent factories", environment monitor stations, radio telescopes and so on, considering them as "ports" on the map for contemporary technologies. The project encourages  creative writings and knowledge production based on in-situ investigations and experiences.

Guizhou is getting known for the big data policies (known as the "data capital" of China), China International Big Data Industry Expo, and row upon row of data bunkers constructed by tech giants. The "datafication" process boosts economies, while witnessing how terms such as "big data", "the cloud"and "ark", become embedded in daily life in Guizhou within a few years. How exactly did the poetry and abstraction of the "cloud" get interwoven with everydayness in Guizhou? This is the starting point of our project, furthermore, we focus on investigations on data processing centers, measurement facilitations and a series of automated systems that are self-controlled, self-regulated and equipped with precise decision making functions, and how these elements may reflect how technological energies shape our production relationships and imaginations on culture and techno-politics.

In a picture taken in 1940, British travellers surrounded the Hoover Dam - described as "Technological Sublime" by historian David Nye. Sometimes, "techno-infrastructures" emerge from the background in the form of accidents, partly because of our uncertain, confusing and aloof relationship with them. Geographer Stephen Graham and Simon Marvin describe infrastructures as "sophisticated technological artifacts ever devised by humans." Sociologists Susan Leigh Star and Geoffrey Bowker, meanwhile, expand the discussion about infrastructures to intellectual and mechanism operations, including its ecology, ethnography, and the sociology of classification system involved. Some writers, furthermore, acutely captures how infrastructures strike a sympathetic chord by receding from our eyesights as indefinable species in eerie silence. Lisa Parks elegantly concludes this process as "concealment" - relatively invisible and unnoticed. Steven Jackson offers a cognitive shift of what he calls "broken world thinking", highlighting erosion, breakdown, and decay, rather than novelty, growth, and progress in the use of nature.

Guiyang is a "digital" city, where the world's first "big data" themed expo was born, and where the country's first "big data exchange" was launched. The uproaring industry is architectured upon long-term poverty and ecological fragility, composing a unique landscape in the rear area of the "third line movement". In 2020, world's largest single segment radio telescope (FAST) was put into operation. At the end of the same year, in a silent valley in Puerto Rico, Arecibo collapsed in silence. Infrastructures endure their lifelines in places beyond our sight. Geologies, landscapes, infrastructures, cities and human, are compressed as an indistinguishable layer in the cosmic scale of time. Metaphorically, the human and non-human narrative entangling infrastructures, could flow into a sensorial postscript. Furthermore, how could the contemplation on infrastructures escape from aerial imaginations and in reverse, invite first-hand, on-site and in-situ experiences, is the underlying principle of Port, Material Flow, Data Alleys.