The Arteries of the Digital World


A photographer’s journey through the world of technology

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As technology develops, we are having a harder time imagining what the processes that make up our world look like. Photographer Henrik Spohler sets out to bring physical evidence of the building blocks of the digital world and the systems that bring forth our scientific discoveries.

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0/1 Dataflow (2000-2001)

Our world is more and more connected, but what do the life veins of the digital world really look like? Long before the Internet be- came part of almost everyone’s daily routine, Henrik Spohler set out on an expedition to the jungle of wires and cases. What he came upon was a clinically-clean world – endless rows of steel boxes interrupted only by colourful vines of cable.

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He was surprised by how physically constructed the digital world still is, even though we have already accepted it as an almost ‘natural’ component of our daily lives. “My images are in no way anti-technology, though,” Spohler says.“They convey my ambiguous fascination of the un- known sphere beyond the colorful screens.”

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Hypothesis (2017-2019)

What is the origin of Homo Sapiens? Astronomers observe the edges of the universe at night in the Chilean Atacama desert, while climate researchers in Copenhagen examine air that has been locked in the Arctic ice for thousands of years old, and in the heart of an Italian mountain physicists await a gleam that no human eye can see. Research in the natural sciences often goes beyond the power of our imagination. Henrik Spohler explores the world of scientific discovery and documents the complex and sophisticated processes that fuels it...

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State-of-the-art computed tomography and statistical analysis of skull shapes show that the faces of the earliest known humans, who lived in present-day Morocco 300,000 years ago, were not that different from ours. They had more elongated skulls, where ours are rounded.
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Human Evolution, Leipzig, Germany.

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Researchers from around the world access the servers of the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) data center. For the rapid exchange of this data, the British CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML, the language of the World Wide Web.
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Canton of Geneva, Switzerland

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The fully automated phenotyping facility of the Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research identifies which varieties of barley produce the highest yield. The aim is to find high-yielding and dry-resistant varieties that can be used for new breeding.
Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany


These photos appear in Are We Europe #5: Code of Conscience

Code of Conscience
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