Landing Points of Transoceanic Cables
Clare Lyster with Charles Lafon.
Client: New Geographies Journal Series
Wire Room deploys cable infrastructure as a site for production, speculation, and research through the creation of a proto-public space at the landfall of the AEC-1 cable in Shirley, Long Island, New York, and its sister site at Killala Bay in County Mayo, Ireland. These rooms are small-scale cultural nodes that render legible the planetary systems of global urbanization. They not only mark the landing points of the transatlantic cable but also provide a “transmission space” for real-time (almost, within nanoseconds) communication between strangers across the Atlantic as well as to other cable landing points. A small exhibit space offers room to showcase digital art across a worldwide network of rooms. The wire room is an icon of 21st-century telecommunication infrastructure in the same way that the phone booth was an icon of the telephonic era. It acknowledges the cosmic implications of digital communication and the formal and material research of Anthropocentric phenomena. Visitors enter via a path aligned with the cable and over a glass threshold that allows a glimpse of the actual cable deep in the ground. A second-floor viewing portal frames a view across the Atlantic Ocean as an abstract representation of the cable path. A rooftop patio allows further opportunity to contemplate the compression of time and space that exists at the site.