Photographer Turns Data Centers into Veritable ‘Hoth-scapes’
May 21, 2012
KSAT Svalbard Ground Station; All photographs: Greg White
A self-identified “frustrated architect”, George Lucas has, in fact, built much more than most architects, constructing not only physical (and thoroughly reformist) buildings, but entirely visionary landscapes, urban environments, and entire worlds whose influence hold sway to this day. A fundamental feature of Lucas’s architectural mise-en-scènes is the filmmaker’s concept of “used spaces”, the deliberate scuffing of walls and the battering of structural lattices that register human usage and occupation and bear the marks of the gravitational or other atmospheric forces that cohere these strange lands together. This is perhaps most evident in the white purist terrain of Hoth, who pristine, even abstract forms are blemished by the Rebellion’s grey, fuel-leaking fuselage and arsenal (and the frozen bodies of fallen tauntauns). Photographer Greg White works against this, reverting to the aesthetic biases of early Sci-fi moviescapes which privileged stark, blank urban forms and architectural corridors that were themselves purified of inhabitants and, thus, loaded with techno-utopian moments.
White takes as his subject the data centers and technological infrastructure behind the finger swipes and pop-up notifications of contemporary life, capturing mechanistic environments such as the KSAT Svalbard Ground Station, theMcLaren Technology Centre, and the BMW MINI Factory. Each is rendered in minimalist compositions, white washed tableaux whose near depthless forms are made legible by shadow and line. Continue.
White’s constructions perhaps share more with Lucas’s first film THX-1138, an Orwellian thriller of sorts set in an antiseptic society contained within sparse, Modernist, even vaguely-Suprematist buildings (much of the film was shot in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marin County Civic Center). The rare instances of color come in the form of retro-analog command boards, with dark grey insets and red-and-yellow buttons. Flourishes of blue, as seen in the building railings and even a lab swimming pool, complete the primary color scheme.