The cloud where our personal data lives is more than a nebulous metaphor. Our paperless photos and documents are warehoused on servers in nondescript industrial buildings. Google has decided to shine a spotlight on these overlooked structures with its Data Center Mural Project, which commissions artists to paint the humble façades of cloud storage facilities scattered around the world.
“Whether it’s sharing photos, searching the web, or translating languages, billions of requests are sent to ‘the cloud’ every day,” vice president of Google Data Centers Joe Kava writes on the Google blog. “But few people know all this information flows through physical locations, called data centers. Because these buildings typically aren’t much to look at, people usually don’t, and rarely learn about the incredible structures and people who make so much of modern life possible.”
Kava said that the project aims “to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside.” In Mayes County, Oklahoma, a mural by artist Jenny Odell is based on Google Maps satellite images of infrastructure such as swimming pools and wastewater plants. Belgian street artist Oli-B painted cloudlike images depicting Belgian life for Belgium’s Saint-Ghislain data center. Next up are Dublin and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kava said the company hopes to bring the project to its additional data centers around the world.
Read more about Google’s data centers at the project website or check out the video below to hear the artists talk about their work: