Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors: Examining New York City’s Concentrated Internet Infrastructure

Screening by Ben Mendelsohn (The New School).

This project consists of an academic paper as well as a ten minute video documentary. I intend to screen the documentary while offering supplemental discussion from my paper. Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. This documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible. Built in the 1930s as the global headquarters of Western Union, 60 Hudson Street was ready-made for the Internet: the conduits once used for telegraph lines are now filled with fiber optic cables. Featuring interviews with Stephen Graham, Saskia Sassen, and several industry professionals, the documentary explores why this concentrated piece of Internet infrastructure located in a dense, mixed-use neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, paying particular attention to the role of path dependence. The project has been featured by The Atlantic, Rhizome, and Boing Boing.

Ben Mendelsohn is a media scholar and documentary filmmaker from New York City. He earned his MA in Media Studies from The New School, where his thesis project, “Bundled, Buried and Behind Closed Doors,” examined the economic geography and material history of Internet infrastructure.

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  1. Pingback: Sorting Network Artifacts, Part 2 | Words in Space

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