Ben Evans James
Curator - Producer - Filmmaker

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And the Earth Screamed, Alive (2017)



The bunker’s reemergence in the cloud has made disaster recovery readily available, in part by making disaster constantly imaginable – Tung-Hui Hu

And the Earth Screamed, Alive! was a solo exhibition by Emma Charles featuring a multi-media installation of her 16mm film White Mountain. Focussing on the Pionen Data Center in Stockholm, the film explores the former Cold War-era civil defence bunker redesigned by architect Alber France-Lanord as a data centre to house servers for clients, which at one point included Wikileaks and The Pirate Bay. Playing on the science fiction aesthetic, White Mountain uncovers the varying forms of temporality brought about through an exploration of data space and geology.

Starting by surveying the rough topography of the surrounding Södermalm landscape, Charles gradually pushes beneath the surface, illuminating the ordinarily concealed network infrastructure. As the camera idles on the florescent-lit server stacks, issues of privacy, surveillance and digital sovereignty emanate. Located 30 meters under the granite rocks of Vita Bergen Park in Stockholm, the hydrogen bomb proof subterranean hub has been constructed with direct references to science fiction films such as Silent Running, and the classic Ken Adams designed Bond-villain lairs.

For And the Earth Screamed, Alive! South Kiosk transformed the space taking the viewer on a journey through the concealed and protected architecture of the data centre, creating an immersive installation by deconstructing White Mountain through a combination of projections, tv screens, monitors and print.

Artist: Emma Charles
Curator: Dave Charlesworth
Assistant Curator: Ben Evans James

Text: Jake Biernat
Gallery Assist: Toby Bilton