Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes is an immersive audio walk that invites you to explore and uncover what's behind the internet infrastructure. We are perpetually connected to the network and to each other. But how does the internet work? How does it really work? And what makes it work? This immersive journey helps you see the invisible, hear the unheard and feel the intangible.

The guided audio journey assigns you, the visitor, a central role that requires you to interact and engage with a handful of physical artefacts on display, all of which are instrumental to the internet.

With the help of headphones and a smartphone, the spatial story plays out on the premises of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich explaining the history and purpose of some network components, as well as the political forces driving changes in the global internet system.

Audio Introduction «Behind the Scenes»

Have you ever thought about what happens when you do a simple internet search? What transpires between the moments that you type your queries on a search bar and receive results?

We think the internet is in the air, but often it’s hidden from our view, tucked away underground and under the oceans. This experience exposes the physicality of our network infrastructure.

Kaufmann Datwyler data center show room

Dätwyler data center showroom, 2019, © Lena Kaufmann

The display of fibre optic and undersea cables help you to understand how data transmitted over the network transforms itself into light impulses, traveling thousands of kilometers across the globe at breakneck speeds.

The internet didn’t emerge from nowhere; it holds precedence. The fibre optic cable routes of today are based, literally, on the telegraph, railroad and telephone lines of the last two centuries. Within the exhibition, you will be prompted to identify an object from the past that sheds light on these historical roots.

Kaufmann Daetwyler cable factory 1 Kopie
Kaufmann Daetwyler cable factory 2 Kopie

Dätwyler cable factory, 2019, © Lena Kaufmann

And finally, who is in control of all this infrastructure? There is an ongoing battle between technology powers for dominance over the cables -- and their expansion.

Behind the Scenes is an educational experience that aims to provoke you and have you question the motives and powers behind one of the most significant and complex infrastructure systems in our lives.

Collaborators Behind the Scenes

Co-creator: Gayatri Parameswaran, NowHere Media, Berlin
Co-creator: Felix Gaedtke, NowHere Media, Berlin
Creative Producer: Mia von Kolpakow, NowHere Media, Berlin
Sound Design: Billy Mello, NowHere Media, Berlin
Engineer: Hans Peter Kadel, NowHere Media, Berlin
Intern: Defne Işıklı, NowHere Media, Berlin

Research: Dr. Lena Kaufmann, Department of History, UZH

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