The first walk partially tracks the London Congestion Charge Zone. I photographed surveillance cameras and was threatened with arrest. I’d been reading Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep and Eyal Weizman’s Before and after: Documenting the architecture of disaster, and listening to a lot of Black Metal.
The second journey tracks the infrastructure of air navigation, from air traffic control installations to covert spy planes. I did get threatened with violence again, but I also got a little bit scared by what I was investigating. This essay was brought to you by books on the history of espionage (Richard Aldrich’s GCHQ, James Bamford’s Body of Secrets, Peter Wrights’s Spycatcher), Zipcar and BBC Radio 4.
The third journey follows the path of high-speed microwave links from the London Stock Exchange’s datacentre in Slough, to the City of London, and out the other side of the city to the New York Stock Exchange’s datacentre in Basildon. It was deep in the winter and I cycled nearly a hundred miles while listening to podcasts and getting quietly furious about economic inequality, having spent a lot of time on the websites of Ofcom and Alexandre Laumonier.
There is also a brief epilogue on the themes of development and surveillance.