Cloud Time

Cloud Time

This book maps capitalisms mobilization of cloud computing in its bid to archive and enclose the future.


The Cloud, hailed as a new digital commons, a utopia of collaborative expression and constant connection, actually constitutes a strategy of vitalist post-hegemonic power, which moves to dominate immanently and intensively, organizing our affective political involvements, instituting new modes of enclosure, and, crucially, colonizing the future through a new temporality of control. The virtual is often claimed as a realm of invention through which capitalism might be cracked, but it is precisely here that power now thrives. Cloud time, in service of security and profit, assumes all is knowable.  We bear witness to the collapse of both past and future virtuals into a present dedicated to the exploitation of the spectres of both.


A new kind of anthropophony: the deafening "informatic white noise" of constant push-messaging and gadget updates over the airwaves. The "cloud" – remote storage, "software as a service", pervasive mobile data – is here the subject of a rivetingly angry denunciation. The authors kick off with a reading of Christopher Nolan's film Inception, and go on to employ Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, China Miéville (on tentacle fiction), Tom McCarthy's novel Remainder, and Derrida: the cloud, they say, is a hideous meta-archive that attempts to impose a new "hygiene of time". Particularly interesting is the authors' analogy between consumer interaction with the "cloud" and videogames, in both of which the user submits to "systemic imperatives". The persuasive upshot is that the cloud, with its "techno-messianism", constitutes an enclosure of the "digital commons". The book is enjoyably creative in its theoretical spleen, and has the good humour, after one flight of fancy, to admit: "Okay, maybe this goes too far." But glib flag-wavers for corporate control of your data have been going too far the other way for longer. ~ Steven Poole, The Guardian

Cloud Time positively fizzes and crackles with energy and ideas, drawing in a compelling archive of other thinkers, fellow travellers. It reads like a fiction and manifesto, but also as a kind of survey – of what lies at the outer rim...The book has a visceral quality – you can see, feel the tentacular novum. It’s this that I’m left with – a strong sense of the cloud as alive and reptilian...I was reminded of some of Nick Land and CCRU’s writings; certainly, at its best moments, the fictioning element of the book outruns the critique and we get something utterly compelling, an SF dystopia in which friends and enemies all exist in a grey zone. It’s a pessimistic thesis, but there is a kind of joy in the writing. ~ Simon O’Sullivan, Author of 'Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari' (2005), 'On the Production of Subjectivity' (2012) and co-editor of 'Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New' (2008)

It’s not only your head that is in the Cloud, but your whole body in its desires, actions, reactions, hiccups and errors too. Coley and Lockwood show in their strong theoretical take on cloudy media cultures that the more invisible control becomes, the more we need to develop fresh theoretical tools to open it up. Cloud Time offers a much-needed analysis of contemporary capitalism as a perverse form of informationalization and quantification of life to which we happily, voluntarily contribute.  Even Microsofts Steve Ballmer has admitted to the difficulty involved in clearly defining the Cloud – and yet, Coley and Lockwood give us excellent clues.

~ Jussi Parikka, Author of 'Insect Media' and 'Digital Contagions'

Rob Coley
Rob Coley Rob Coley is a lecturer in media theory and practice at the University of Lincoln, UK. With Dean Lockwood he is author of Photography in the...
Dean Lockwood
Dean Lockwood Dean Lockwood, awarded a PhD in Sociology at York in 1996, is a Senior Lecturer in Media Theory in the School of Media at the University of ...
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