Where do the cryptic designs on manhole covers come from? What is the meaning of those spray-painted neon symbols in the street? With this field guide in your pocket, the answers are close at hand. Ingrid Burrington’s Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide is sure to change the way you look at the concrete jungle. (And the internet.)
The guide is a smart off-screen companion piece to the author’s website Seeing Networks, an ongoing research project into the physical implementation of internet service in New York City. The guide draws on public information from sources such as the NYC.gov Streetworks Manual which, while public, are far from digestible. Making this sort of information accessible is a big part of the project’s appeal.
As public interest in the structure and control of the internet as a ‘service’ has been growing in tandem with the outcry surrounding government surveillance and net neutrality, Burrington’s field guide has gathered more attention than she anticipated. At least, enough to merit an offset printing of the book which we recommend pre-ordering.