Andrea Calestani Photographer

The cabling men

In a hundred years’ time we will have to remember these men. And officiate a grateful tribute for their work. Because they will have built that future with today’s work. AI will run as much as it wants in the filaments of optical fibers laid and grafted by these men, with their bare hands, in our cities, in our homes, in our lives.

Often mixing concept and meaning in the most generic metaphysics has always been an irresistible temptation of every editorial or debate on the topic. Spending a few words (some images) to explain the simple manual work that is an indispensable condition for other technologies to develop and operate is a must.

A worker on a bulldozer dug a hole; someone entered that hole to unroll kilometres of cable spools, cut and splice; someone else then closed the hole, perhaps with a shovel; someone climbed up ladders, scaffolding and hoists because the cable couldn’t go underground from there. With too much heat or too much cold to suffer, because the work had to proceed quickly.

Finally, the communications engineer would verify that the signal passed quickly and undisturbed. Then, everything would have been entrusted to the monitor of the network management program (let’s call it AI). After.

The photographic project lasted three years: from 2017 to 2019. I followed the wiring works in the city, in the neighbourhoods. Where every cable reached every house in a widespread manner.

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