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...

︎ Email
︎ Instagram

September, 2022

走访机构 | SITES

Guizhou Meteorological Bureau Guiyang National Climatological Reference Station

Shu’anhui Big Data Security

School of Physics and Electronic Science, Guizhou Normal University

Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Tencent Data Centers


Apple Data Centers

Guizhou-Cloud Big Data



In summer 2021, we conducted visits and exchanges with institutions involved in geology, meteorology, data, and astronomy. From these different perspectives, we attempted to determine why Guizhou has become a data hub. In the 2022 site visits, we will examine this question in four ways:

  • 东数西算

    Data in the East, Computing in the West
    Guizhou is one of the eight national computing power hubs approved for the Data in the East, Computing in the West program. How can we incorporate on-the-ground research to better understand this westward movement of computing power and the underlying inter-regional resource allocations? How will this influence the primacy of “cold data” storage (usually for data that has lower time effectiveness and time sensitivity requirements) in Guizhou?

  • 天文数据

    Astronomical Data
    Astronomical research has become a classic use-case for data. Every year, FAST (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope) adds 10 PB of new data, and it is estimated that its total data will exceed 100 PB in the next five years. This data is sent via FAST’s early scientific data center in Guiyang to the National Astronomical Observatory in Beijing, then it is shared with all of China and the rest of the world through the cloud. How should we think about the process of collecting, computing, modeling, and finally generating new knowledge or discoveries? How should we think about the interaction between its local and global impact?

  • 科学数据与数据中心

    Scientific Data and Data Centers
    Based on our discussion of astronomical data, how should we think about the relationship between scientific data and data centers? From a systemic perspective, data centers can be seen as nodes in a broader network, connecting disparate scientific disciplines such as geology, meteorology, hydropower, and electricity. All of these disciplines support data center operations, but they also rely on the development and application of data and new infrastructure. We will investigate how data and new infrastructure have influenced working methods in different industries, the relationship between humans and machines, and the evolution of technology, and how this system, which includes data centers, can coordinate and influence work

  • 新基建

    New Infrastructure
    Communication network infrastructure such as 5G, the Internet of Things, industrial internet, and satellite internet, new technology infrastructure such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and blockchain, and computing infrastructure such as data centers and smart computing centers are collectively known as “new infrastructure” for information technology. Through these visits, we will attempt to understand new infrastructure in the context of life in the region and inquire into the geographical and cultural connections between this new infrastructure and the legacy of the Third-Front Movement.



Port: Material Flows, Data Valleys is a visit-based curatorial project on contemporary technological infrastructure. Initiated by Iris Long and He Zike in early 2021, the project is kindly supported by the Contemporary Visual Art Institute at Guizhou Normal University. With its first stop in Guizhou, China, “Under the Cloud” attempts to find a place for people between nature and technology within a temporal stack. The project also engages with the constant, ordinary foundational structures (including infrastructure and geological environments) that are either invisible or overlooked within our digital lives, as well as their lifespans within the context of deep time.


2021年8月,当我们在这个谚语中讲述的“地无三尺平,天无三日晴”的内陆山地城市贵阳,从旧城区穿越隧道群及百米高的大桥,来到位于观山湖的高新开发区,看着眼前宽阔的马路与林立的科技大厦,很难想到在2008年这里还是一片山野与农场。卫星快照上,在这个以多云阴沉闻名的城市上空,一朵白云像往常一样飘浮而来,然而它很快就将改变成分,从水分子的聚合物变幻为数字化的信息载体。2021年5月,第七届中国国际大数据产业博览会(Big Data Expo)刚刚在此落下帷幕,“云上贵州”是该地区最大的大数据运营主体,以及苹果iCloud服务在中国大陆的唯一合作伙伴。



In August 2021, when we visited the inland city of Guiyang, known for being a place “without three feet of level ground or three days of clear skies,” we traveled from the old city, through webs of tunnels

and across bridges hundreds of meters high, to the High-Tech Industrial Development Zone along Guanshan Lake. We took in the broad roads and clusters of tall tech buildings, and it was hard to imagine that this was all mountains and farmland as recently as 2008. On satellite imagery, the usual clouds float over a place famed for its overcast skies. However, the clouds have recently changed in Guizhou; once a collection of water molecules, the word is now most often used to refer to the storage of digital information. In May 2021, at the close of the Seventh China International Big Data Industry Expo, Guizhou-Cloud Big Data was the largest big data company in the region and the only mainland China partner of Apple iCloud services.

Some 50 kilometers outside of Guiyang proper lies Gui’an New District, once an obscure township that, in 2017, became the site of Apple’s first data center in Asia, operated in partnership with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. If you register an iCloud account in China, you’ll get a notification that your data is being hosted by GCBD. Apple is not the only tech firm building data centers in Guizhou. The Gui’an New District authorities proudly highlight data center deals with companies like Tencent, Huawei, and Qualcomm. Even satellite imagery can fail to capture the changes underway around Guiyang: As of late 2021, Google Earth still showed the now-finished GCBD data center as a half-built complex, surrounded by dirt.

When the bird’s-eye view was slow to update and no longer accurate, we chose to visit.

During this visit, we saw that Guizhou had an uncertain future with this data industry, resting somewhere between hope and crisis. It had made promises to develop the industry rapidly, but it was facing a shortage of talent. The city is also confronting a dislocation between the speeds at which technology and talent can be developed, and the relationship between cool data storage, natural resources in western China, and computing power. The ground on which these “clouds” rest is becoming increasingly rocky, even as FAST looks to the sky above to gain insight into the universe’s past. We attempt to explore whether these temporal stacks can help us to re-think everything that is happening right now. If we understand the shift to the rearguard in the 1940s, the Third Line Movement focused on national defense in the 1960s and 1970s, and the more recent large-scale development of western China and the transfer of electricity from the western to eastern regions, we may gain a better understanding of Guizhou’s narrative and role, including the influence that region has had on shaping human consciousness and activity at different points in time and the kinds of legacies that has left. In addition to the gaps that can be captured on satellite imagery, we may hear the echoes of history slowly rebounding off the walls of the tunnels of time.