• A glass of water and the wi-fi’s password

    SESSION D: New Materialisms and Infrastructures
    Day 3. Saturday, 29th October.
    12:00 – 14:00
    Venue: ASM: Arts Santa Mònica

    Torrent, streaming and cloud computing are metaphors based on water flow that we use to refer to operations (some of them considered illegal) of file sharing on the internet. Just as water, confirming science fiction nightmares, becomes a scarce commodity in Megacities like São Paulo, the “taps” of the World Wide Web are regulated in accordance to corporate and geopolitical interests, revealing multilayered disputes and not only a figurative meaning.

    Peter Brabek, CEO of Nestlé, affirmed in an interview that water, as an item of subsistence, must have a market value, and therefore cannot be regarded as a human right. His speech expresses a preoccupation with a commodity that impact not only food but also media industry, since water is needed in purification and cleaning methods of electronic components, being used in cooling machines and various industrial processes. In the american state of Utah, where is located the NSA data center, as many as 1.7 million gallons of water per day are required to keep computers cool and operating. Imagine if the supply of water to the servers would be suspended? This strategic proposition remind us that collecting and storing data depends not on only on algorithms, and highlights the close interdependence between environment and dataveillance practices, inspiring the slogan: “No water, no data”. Linking the manifest of the activist group NullifyNSA to the Brazilian filmmaker Humberto Mauro classical quote “Film is waterfall” we propose a speculation about database cinema and online audiovisual culture.

    Paola Barreto Leblanc
    School of Visual Arts, Rio de Janeiro Federal University

    Paola Barreto (Rio de Janeiro, 1971) is an audiovisual artist an researcher trained as a filmmaker. She has a BA in Film Studies, a MA in Aesthetics and Technology and is currently a PhD Candidate in Interdisciplinary Poetics at the School of Visual Arts at Rio de Janeiro Federal University. Between 2014 and 2015 she was a visiting scholar at the Flusser Archiv at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her theoretical and practical production is based on analog and digital video circuits, media archeology and hybrid systems, unfolding in installations, interventions and science fiction.


Department of Art History
Universitat de Barcelona
c/ Montalegre 6-8.
08001 Barcelona

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The images for the Art and Speculative Futures conferences are generously provided by artist Regina de Miguel from her video Una Historia Nunca Contada desde Abajo (2016).