Striking murals turn Google data centers into pieces of art

Striking murals turn Google data centers into pieces of art

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Google processes more than 30 billion queries a day and each one at one point travels through a faceless data center with seemingly endless rows of servers.

To bring some curb appeal to the Internet’s so-called “homes,” Google has tapped artists to paint murals on four data centers, hoping to expand the project to even more. So far two centers, in Oklahoma and Belgium, have gotten facelifts, Google announced this week.

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“It may look like a giant canvas, but this is a very special place that plays a special role in the operation of the Internet, which ultimately plays a role in the lives of a lot of people and mine, too,” Oli-B, an artist who reimagined the cloud on the exterior of a data center in St. Ghislain, Belgium, said in a video describing the project.

His mural’s dark background brings life to a bright, abstract cloud that incorporates people, animals and objects he saw at the center and in the surrounding city. The sheep that roam the grounds, a hot air balloon representing an annual festival and several eyes come to life in a rainbow of colors.

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Oli-B’s mural incorporates people, animals and objects from inside the data center and the surrounding town.

IMAGE: DATA CENTER MURAL PROJECT

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A portion of Oli-B’s colorful mural.

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A bicyclist rides by Oli-B’s mural.

Slivers of reimagined satellite images make up artist Jenny Odell’s mural in Mayes County, Oklahoma. Odell designed four circular collages using images she collected from Google Maps. Each of the circles has a theme: swimming pools, circular farms, wastewater treatment plants and salt ponds.

“Seeing them from a satellite perspective kind of brings out how strange and specifically human they are,” Odell said in a video provided by Google. “The satellite imagery I used to make this mural at some point passed through a data center like this one.”

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A section of Jenny Odell’s mural on an Oklahoma data center.

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Various cutouts of Google Maps satellite images make up the Oklahoma mural.

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The four circles on this mural consist of images of swimming pools. farms, wastewater treatment plants and salt ponds.