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Surfacing from Nicole Starosielski

I had reached out to Nicole Starosielski at NYU about an excerpt from The Undersea Network that describes her visit to a cable station in the Philippines. I was curious about the stark differences between this part of her narrative and descriptions of other locations like Guam that feature prominently in her book. When she reaches her destination outside of Manila, she notes the visibility of the cable station but describes a place that is almost abandoned or neglected. Nicole Starosielski replied with a list of links to cable stations in the Philippines from the Surfacing digital project related the book. Below are a few of them:

And if you can, take a look at her team’s interactive underwater cable network project: http://www.surfacing.in/

From her email, Nicole Starosielski highlighted the importance of Currimao during the Cold War Era. During the Telegraph Era, Currimao was just one of many places in the Philippines where military telegraph lines ran through and was also a coastwise port according to a 1902 Philippines Military Telegraph Lines map. According to Surfacing, Currimao’s cable station was not chosen to be a part of later cable networks and has since become a museum, though I cannot find any information about it online. It is interesting how an integral part of an experimental surveillance state simply “disappears into the network” – many of the U.S. military’s security apparatuses from the early 1900s are no longer in use, but many other technologies have taken their place. The Philippines still relies on how submarine cable networks connect them to the rest of the world, but I have to wonder how current political climates in the Philippines will affect the networks it is a part of.

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