Author Archives: Francesca Bogani Amadori

Notes on labor and inequality in infrastructures

Much perspectives come in place while writing this note that comes as a reflexive and self-awareness text on many issues such as my cognitive sovereignty, my perception and understanding of time in a present scale also in its multiplicity and implications, the understanding that my every decision or action is, undeniably, tied to my context and agency society gives me, and comes with consequences whether I can witness them or not which talks about certain privileges I came to have at this stage of my life, but could easily not have if having not taken certain actions that I know sums into the chain of negative footprints, like getting two flights to get here, plus the amount of clicking those tickets implied since plenty other flights were canceled before due to the ongoing pandemic.

As a South-American woman in my early 30s being a student in Helsinki, it is inevitable to compare infrastructure and systems and their affect on the non-standard citizens. The first obvious contrast with my previous infrastructure reality is the facilitating presence of proper, digitally connected, public transportation – that I came to discover that as in any other place has its spotless functionality grounded on location, more on that later. Second, and almost on an overwhelming side, I came to experience the huge reliance on digitalization which goes from mundane tasks, such as getting the metro on time to more important matters as bank services access. Everything is profoundly connected to the ID authentification system, which not only implies a matter of public control but also a powerful border setter. [1]

Digital infrastructures, such as those, hold the power to create huge class gaps; frame as a simple understanding of differentiation between those who are part of the digital systems and those who are not. The reality is that there is a more complex creation of classes based on the accessibility to the digital infrastructure and requirements of certain devices that fit the system. As a result, there are different sorts of citizens: lawful citizens, temporal citizens, outcast citizens, non-citizens, international students – which somehow belong to their own gray area, temporal international students, unlawful citizens, illegal subjects, and so on.

By exploring this phenomenon we understand that the infrastructure itself is labeling us, restricting our relational identities and agency in the society frame, fitting us in specific spheres of action. This naming affects the capacity of access to certain services and benefits, such as banking loans or housing leases, affecting also the quality of services provided like public transportation or verified phone lines. Therefore affecting the daily ways of reaching and communicating, distorting physically the perception of time, creating a significant difference between the time of the digital lawful citizens and those, us, on the outside or gray areas.












Consequently, we can discuss that the infrastructure builds upon cognitive capitalism, particularly, on certain types of individuals if we take into account that those out of the system tend to live further from work and city centers, constantly expending more time waiting for their transport, moreover, out of lack of infrastructure, many have to live in remote areas to be close to work in Helsinki, there are just two railway corridors from the core area along the main railway line and the coastal line [2]. Another key aspect of the affects on the cognitive state of digital infrastructure and infrastructure on individuals is the impossibility to access online services and have to invest more time on phone ques or presential meetings for any required matter, there is no time to rest, no infrastructure to make it possible neither.

Time is scarce and the limited that some can access is manly to be able to cover for already invested time -say returning for those borrowed waiting hours. We are again in an industrial-ish era working around the clock, not even being able to make the most out of the minute, minutes feels like seconds, but at the same time can feel like days in a restless laboring routine [3], and big companies are taking advantage of this digital class gaps turning the demand of the digitalized ones into the restless routine of the outsiders by turning overnight their lives into a 24/7 shifts. We can see for example the case of the “megacycles” of Amazon which runs on unthinkable hours, not considering traveling times, other living responsibilities nor resting times, coming to be a maximum degree of digital labor and for that matter “boiproduction” [4].

On a final thought from the gray side, as a student of new media, I came to realize certain inequalities in opportunities, perception and navigation of today’s society. There is a bigger breach among individuals that have been surrounded by technology from childhood and understand its limits and possibilities oppositely to those just coming to know it, but this understanding of the gap may be also a fake understanding of our social reality, based on the illusion of the “creation of power” with this digital skills [3].

Being educated as a kid on computer skills, and software manipulation, even basic coding nowadays, comes with the promise of giving a range of abstract understanding and deconstruction and of course, a set of tools most likely required in our context. When facing the question of “skills” and experience there is a huge difference regarding the early accessibility to digital infrastructure; that doesn’t correspond to the individuals own interests and practices but to the social contexts and its limitations, giving some individuals advantages and putting others in specific action spheres that could be carried on in time, limiting their access to digital infrastructures out of fear, embarrassment, or just being uncomfortable to face something so familiar “so late”, under the eye of the capitalist society that kept them to the margin in the first place.

There are some cases, where the question is raised, whether this division is made by the capitalist itself and if everyone does, really, need these infrastructures to be part of this global system [5], but as long as the world is functioning on certain parameters there is no doubt that it should be a right for everyone to have the same access and understanding of how things are developing, and to be up to the individual to decide whether or not to be part of it, but in terms of voluntary action not in terms of lack of information, illiteracy or inaccessibility the same applies for government policies on digitalizing identities if its not possible for everyone it shouldn’t restrict and affect those who cannot be part of it.



1. Governing ID: Principles for Evaluation. Bhandari, V. Trikanad, S. Since, A. 2020. A project of the Centre for Internet and Society, India Supported by Omidyar Network

2.Urban Form in the Helsinkiand Stockholm City RegionsDevelopment of Pedestrian, Public Transport and Car Zones. Söderström, P. Schulman, H. Ristimäki, M. 2015.

3. Cultural Techniques of Cognitive Capitalism: Metaprograming and the Labor of Code in Cultural Studies Review. Parikka, J. 2014, University of South Hampton. pp 30 – 52

4. Amazon Is Forcing Its Warehouse Workers Into Brutal ‘Megacycle’ Shifts. Kaori Gurley, L. 2021

5. Water, Energy, Access: Materializing the Internet in Rural Zambia, in Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures,Parks, L. Starosielski, N. 2015 Urbana, Chicago And Springfield: University Of Illinois Press. pp 115-136.


No/humanness in the Immediate

We are becoming ever more impatient, and waiting which will always be part of any process [1], seems more like an inadequacy in the human code, there’s this old fixation with utility and efficiency which is slowly killing all that is organic within ourselves and surrounding us. From the days of industrialization, and the beginning of the engine era, our pace has constantly been stepping up affected by new technologies [1]. Being modern is being fast and productive, our wireless context allows and so many other times demands us to be in many different places at many different times, we are living the future, the same future that, as years ago, relies on the cultural obsession with immediateness and the well-developed infrastructure illiteracy.

Our cultural geography and temporality are ruled by capital systems, who, more than ever, are putting a value on time, we’ve come from having tangible benefits in reducing time on communication systems to making immediateness a final product itself. Another phenomenon is the overgrowing invisibility of infrastructures and with these a lack of understanding of who controls those services we rely so much on upon; by these means, we might live under the impression that investments to obtain better accessibility may be part of our nation’s interest in the common well and better social development but the reality is that nearly all, if not all, internet infrastructure belongs to private companies [2] and such investments have as final ends the creation of more need rather than providing solutions.



These private owners are in constant search of investors and expansion grounded on probabilities of data consumption [3], an interesting approach on this matter is to analyze the extent of services these private companies own and how they use user data for developing still unneeded infrastructure base on, the already capitalized, searches, screen time, and clicks, to name a few. It is no wonder that their main interest is to keep providing quick and borderless access to such services as they plan to expand and create more apps and services that will demand broader data access, creating an ever-accelerating cultural imaginary [4].

The idea of services beyond geography and borders may seem utopic but in practice, they come with rather problematic issues. The fact that most of these infrastructures rely on private entities who are not engaged in national matters such as, territory or natural resources affairs, or national privacy policies are some practical problems, but on a cultural imaginary scale, we have to understand the power we are giving to such entities, especially, in the social understanding of time and immediateness, and how these perceptions are being translated into other spheres such as education and culture.

As an effect, time is, more and more, being perceived as less useful on critical and investigating spaces because of the lack of practical utility [5] but especially because they are not at the same pace with the cultural imaginary pace that telecommunication infrastructures have created. While being obsessed with immediateness we are pushing ourselves towards a practical conception of reality, where our attention is shifting from being analytical and explorative to producing and consuming cyclicly at a fast speed. This phobia of waiting is affecting the way we understand information and also how it is being taught; nowadays education institutions rush students to get their degrees done quickly, courses cut studying hours by half, and there is a tendency for more self-studies. By assimilating the accelerating pace of infrastructures we are putting at risk capacities to generate ideas, instead of quickly searching for pre-solved answers.

Nowadays it is almost a revolutionary act not to follow what some app says and choose to be consciously slow on our way to our next meeting, or that inevitable metro trip, adding some non-efficient gap in our routine and it is even more revolutionary to go through one specific topic all over until words lack sense. We are expected to know things or search them immediately if not the case. Exploration and mistakes are permitted but there are limits and deadlines. Time is ticking constantly and on the other side of it, are the communication networks making it go even faster.

Knowledge isn’t immediate, isn’t invisible, these big entities are looking for blind and illiterate users, to keep on growing at an accelerated pace. We have to question what’s the limit of our unstable ethics and start visualizing the physicality and social effects of this unrestricted massive political private control before there’s only left generations of systematic consumers with no further soul or purpose.



[1] Invisible and Instantaneous: Geographies of Media Infrastructure from Pneumatic Tubes to Fiber Optics. Farman, J. 2018. Geospatial Memory, 2 (1), pp.134-154.

[2] Submarine Cable Map.

[3] “Fixed Flow: Undersea Cables as Media Infrastructure,” in Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. Starosielski, N., Urbana, Chicago, And Springfield: University Of Illinois Press, 2015, 53-70.

[4] The Tech Giant’s Invisible Helpers. Ovide, S. 2020

[5] In defense of the useless. Ordine N. 2016.


We come from mentioning the physicality of some infrastructures, they really on land, minerals, material resources to function, the same applies to our data, software access information, contacts, events, preset alarms, passwords, overall everything we want to keep somewhere within our multi-dimensional and for that matter multi-temporal reach.

The cloud provides a solution to storage and accessibility not to just one type of data but to overall our entire functionality, with connectivity we gain the possibility to access our information from everywhere, we also gain unawareness and inability to filter what to hold on to and what to dispose of, we lost track of what we’ve kept dragging and even worst what we’ve been keeping somewhere around the data landscape – which is in a grey zone of the private and public domain [1].

With the lack of awareness of the physicality of data as compared to the weight of ten books or the space a thousand photos would take of our intimate spaces, it is hard to understand data accumulation as an issue, especially since digitalization provided certain relief from waste and space overload. How much are we storing and for what purposes? And where does this data goes? As before mention digitalization may have solved some waste and storage issues but it’s not ethereal it is as physical as it gets, as any other infrastructure, and in this one, in particular, there’s an accelerated growing directly link with our production and consumption of data. So then again I raise the question, is it really everything essential?

We are directly accountable for the creation of exponential data centers, massive physical infrastructures with over the top energy consumption whose sole purpose is to store data that could be otherwise kept somewhere unidimensional with limited access rather than the cloud or moreover don’t exist at all, it’s important to take into account also data accumulated into what is known as Big Data. Companies profit from our detachment of data physicality and keep on magnifying such alienation by offering more abstract space in the cloud to storage a lifetime of pure digital waste. [2]

Therefore, we are part of a capital cycle where we keep on expanding limits and accepting terms and conditions while paying monthly fees for this “space” with no understanding of what this implies or where the actual space is located, even worst, who does it really belong to [3]- such type of contracts is unthinkable outside this sphere. They keep on pushing us to fill those new limits with false pretenses of “the unlimited” but there is a limit to our resources and to how many data centers our lands can hold before they turn natural landscapes into ghost-cities with more electricity consumption of those of proper habited countries, this matters especially having in consideration that there are still cities that don’t have this resource at all, is it then worth thinking of such investments while others still live on total darkness? [3]

Some of us as individuals try our best to reduce our footprint by buying local, eating vegan, even buying second-handed but then again we are not aware of the implications of our lack of memory, our inability to recollect phone numbers, addresses, authors, or even appointments, not to mention the countless pictures and videos just to pick one for the day’s post. At what cost, are we accumulating there in the “ethereal” causing the exhaustion of resources, populating the world with shallow electrified buildings.

We are at a point were data accumulation is as serious as material waste, data centers are the starting point of our digital wastelands but we as individuals can not change the damage we can and must raise consciousness about digital waste and try to avoid unnecessary accumulation of data and try to make the companies change their policies and agendas because it is up to them to limit the data landscapes and put restrictions within their own policies because there is no such thing as “unlimited” not when it comes to our land or resources.

– Francesca Bogani Amadori

References :

[1] Cloud Power. Dulin,O. 2016.

[2] Volume of big data in data center storage worldwide from 2015 to 2021.

[3] Apple confirms it uses Google’s cloud for iCloud. Novet, J. 2018.

[4 ]1.3 billion are living in the dark. Lindeman, T. 2015.