Underground nuclear and military materials have been the subject of international commissions, tribunals, and wars. Yet subterranean facilities also commonly inventory a similarly volatile, though less noxious, resource: information. SubTropolis’s central location, solidity, and security have drawn technology companies, who host data centers in the mine’s massive pillared rooms. Many underground garrisons and command centers of the Cold War era have likewise become “data bunkers.” Given that industrial metaphors of “mining” and “smithing” have long pervaded the discourses of intellectual labor, it should be no surprise that we’re now data mining inside our mines. And alongside the subterranean servers and fiber-optic cables, through which stream digital bits of intelligence, we often find shelves and refrigerated vaults holding information and cultural heritage in myriad analog forms…
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