A network of mesmerising video landscapes is streamed free to your home or workplace in this pioneering new project by Evan Roth.
Roth has travelled to coastal sites around the world where the cables that make the internet possible emerge from the sea. Filmed in infrared, the same spectrum in which data is transmitted online, the videos reveal another side of the internet, one that moves at the speed of weather, wind, and tide.
Red Lines can be experienced by anyone in the world. To join the network, all you need is a device like a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and an internet connection. Devices should ideally be plugged into power and connected to an internet connection with no data limits (check with your service provider) with the browser set to http://p2p.redlines.network. More detailed instructions available via the website below.
In the viewer’s own home or workplace, where the piece is intended to be experienced, the scene updates every three to 19 minutes as a server from one of the cable landing sites delivers each new, infrared landscape to their cracked smartphone, obsolete tablet, or dust-coated laptop.
Roth travelled to these sites in Argentina, Australia, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States, and filmed them using a camera adapted to record in the infra-red spectrum, the same as that in which data is transmitted through the cables. Clouds drift across the screen between gaps in the umbrella pines’ canopy in Cape Town, South Africa. A tree bends in the sea breeze on the main island of the Northern Gothenburg Archipelago just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. In Takapuna beach in New Zealand, gulls preen their feathers around the base of a broken beacon.
The velocity of data including moving image, networked communication, and the delivery of goods veils some of the internet’s more nefarious aspects: its historical ties to colonialism through the British Empire’s The All Red Line and its contemporary ties to state surveillance amongst them.
The piece’s devotion to stillness, attention, and attentiveness allows viewers to physically attune to a slower time zone. Moving intentionally at the ‘speed of nature’, it encourages a slower and at times more solitary, domestic consumption of the work and makes space for considerations of the physicality, history, and landscape of the internet.
How do I set up Red Lines?
To maximise your viewing experience you are also advised to
More in-depth help guides including videos are available at redlines.network.
If you would like help setting up Red Lines on your device, you can:
Please allow a few days for a response.
It is also worth checking @RedlinesStatus on Twitter for updates about any problems or downtime in the network which might be accountable for the issues you are experiencing.
Image: Artist Evan Roth helps people set up Red Lines on their phones. Photograph: Matthew Andrews
We would love to see photographs of Red Lines in your space or some of you living with this work.
You can share your images with Artangel and Evan Roth via this form or by sharing online using the hashtag #redlines. If you elect to allow us to do so via the form, we may publish them to our websites so as to help other potential Red Lines owners see how they might also display this work.
Image: Red Lines on a phone mounted to a computer screen. Photograph: Tobias Faisst.
On visiting redlines.network, a live map shows the location of your current connection – where you are – the location of the server where the currently streaming network located video was filmed and is also stored, as well as other people on the network with whom you are sharing an experience as well as literally sharing data.
The red lines between all these nodes represent the non-social peer-to-peer network that enables this work to exist.
The title also refers to The All Red Line, the submarine telegraph cable system linking territories of the British Empire inaugurated in 1910. Many of today’s vast intercontinental fibre-optic cables – the vital arteries of the digital world – land in the same places where telegraph cables once emerged from the ocean.
On first glance, it seems as if nothing is going on, but you should be able to notice subtle changes in light as clouds pass in front of the sun, animals, people, aeroplanes and boats moving in and out of frame, and changes in the wind and wave patterns. — Evan Roth
It was in this area that I first encountered the feeling of being alone and geographically isolated while simultaneously being so close physically to the network. – Evan Roth on describing his first trip to a network cable landing location in Cornwall, UK
Roth was inspired to visit cable landing points across the world after witnessing the transformation of the internet from a place populated by personal websites, forums, and message boards into a centralised system dominated by Facebook, Google, and Amazon. His visits were characterised by a twin sense of loss (of a DIY ethos and decentralised community) and desire to search (for optimism, wonder, possibility, and empowerment.)
Red Lines is comprised of 53 individual network located videos, filmed in eight countries on six continents, with durations between three minutes 26 seconds and 19 minutes 48 seconds, totalling over 12 hours altogether. All but one depicts a landscape where the cables that form our intercontinental connections emerge from the sea.
In Argentina, horses drink languidly at the water’s edge; in France, branches sway in the breeze; in South Africa, birds fly briefly across the screen. Other than small flashes of action, the works are notable for their stillness. In opposition to the pace of the modern internet where immediacy (5Mbs downloads), brevity (280 characters), and connectedness (14k followers) are the currency, the work intentionally moves at the speed of nature, making space for slowness, contemplation, and detail.
Quote: excerpt from an interview with Roth by Bani Brusadin, Ruth McCullough, and Domenico Quaranta for the catalogue The Black Chamber: surveillance, paranoia, invisibility & the internet.
Based in Berlin, Roth's practice visualizes and archives typically unseen aspects of rapidly changing communication technologies. Through a range of media from sculpture to websites, the work addresses the personal and cultural effects surrounding these changes and the role of individual agency within the media landscape.
Roth is the co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab and the Free Art & Technology Lab (F.A.T. Lab) and his work has been exhibited at the Tate and Whitechapel Gallery and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art NYC.
Roth’s ideas for the work stem from the decentralised peer-to-peer networks that brought illicitly obtained, pirated culture to many a bedroom-bound teenager in the early 2000s. – Lucy Watson, Financial Times
Roth’s ideas for the work stem from the decentralised peer-to-peer networks that brought illicitly obtained, pirated culture to many a bedroom-bound teenager in the early 2000s. – Lucy Watson, Financial Times, 28 September 2018.
I’m not looking to document the cables but rather to undertake the process of seeking them out to begin a different understanding of my surroundings. – Evan Roth interviewed by Paul Carter Robinson, Artlyst, 10 September 2018.
Artist: Evan Roth
Web Development: Cosmic.berlin using WebTorrent
Project Website Designed: Manuel Buerger
Artist Studio Assistants: Paul Bille and Monika Dorniak
Produced for Artangel by Charmian Griffin
Who made this possible?
Red Lines is commissioned and produced by Artangel. The project is generously supported by Creative Capital.
Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, Guardian Angels, and The Company of Angels.