White Mountain

Emma Charles


White Mountain is a 16mm docu-fiction film set primarily in the Pionen data center, which is located 30 meters under the granite rocks of Vita Bergen Park in Stockholm. The site used to by a former Cold War-era civil defense bunker and was redesigned in 2008 by architect Albert France-Lanord as a data center to house servers for clients – among which were WikiLeaks and the Pirate Bay. Starting by surveying the rough topography of the surrounding Södermalm landscape, the film gradually pushes beneath the surface and illuminates the ordinarily concealed network infrastructure. As the camera idles on the florescent-lit server stacks, issues of privacy, surveillance and digital sovereignty inevitably emanate. The hydrogen bomb proof subterranean hub has been, interestingly, constructed with direct references to science fiction films such as Silent Running, and the classic Ken Adam’s set design. Playing on the sci-fi aesthetic and with a poetic narration written by Jussi Parikka, White Mountain uncovers the varying forms of temporality captured in data space and geology. Gathering vibrational and electromagnetic sound from the rock above as well as from deep inside the server room itself, the work reveals and processes the reverberations of the hidden environment.