We don′t think of the internet as having a beginning and an end. We just assume it′s all around us because we seamlessly connect to wifi on our phones and computers. However the internet is brought to us from fiber optic submarine cables. Finding the physical internet in these cables is almost like a game of hide and seek. Some cables are in plain sight but have to be protected from damage and harm. If one cable goes out, countries, cities and towns can be practically discounted from the rest of the world.
After learning more about the cables, I explored the internet in Alaska. Something about the mix of environments was especially interesting in regards to connectivity of the internet. Having been in Anchorage, Alaska as a kid, I remember how beautiful the land was. It feels like one of the few places left in the world that still had untouched nature. It also was a place where whole communities could thrive with very little people. On this journey of looking at the internet cables, I found a town called Wiseman with a population of fourteen people. I got thinking about how the people in Wiseman probably use the internet just as much as the next person and how this main series of cables created by Alaska United is more or less a lifeline to the rest of the continental United States and the world.
The cables are real solid engineered matter, the internet wouldn′t exist the way it does without them. People give imaginery metaphors to internet, as if it is this unworldly connection to air and space. The cloud, the web, the google. We seem to always be looking up. Holding our phones to the ceiling to get better imaginary wifi connection, when in reality, our internet is grounded into the earth and deep within the ocean. But maybe sometimes we need to look up to the clouds and just enjoy the view.