Where the internet lives: the artist who snooped on Google’s data farm

Well, they started it. Google Street View allows people to crawl virtually along your street and look at your house. Google Earth offers global intrusion from above. The web giant has done its bit to abolish privacy. Now an artist has out-Googled Google, offering a sneak peek at its less than beautiful underbelly.The joy of the internet is that it is always moving. We experience it as speed, mobility, freedom, flux – as an ethereal superhighway we visualise, if we do at all, as lines of light or pulses of pure energy. Irish digital artist John Gerrard brings this myth crashing down to earth in his new projected installation Farm. A camera very slowly pans around a vaguely sinister industrial complex in the middle of nowhere – well, Oklahoma. Cooling towers, pipes, blank walls, and a lonely basketball court are revealed in the silence and cruel sunlight. This is one of Google’s eight vast data farms where your emails and searches are sorted and remembered. The information superhighway ends here.

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