Starting with the premise that figures are woven through the vernacular language we use to describe media, this chapter argues that figures are essential for making sense of the shaping and conditioning influence that media-technical systems exercise on contemporary life. It develops this proposition by placing the example of cloud computing in dialogue with Donna J. Haraway’s concept of figures. Cloud computing is a figure that renders heterogeneous, complex, and often-unrepresentable media-technical systems inhabitable. That is, this figure constructs a distributed media-technical system as an inhabitable “milieu.” Conversely, cloud computing also reveals figures’ methodological potential for “figuring”: that is, they can also be used to understand how computational systems construct modes of inhabitation.
Media; Cloud computing; Inhabitation; Infrastructure; Haraway; Milieu
Wark, S. ‘In “The Cloud”: Figuring and Inhabiting Media Milieus.’ In Figure: Concept and Method, edited by Celia Lury, William Viney, and Scott Wark. PalgraveMacmillan, 2022.