Data torrents into the warehouse, flooding the rows of whirring racks inside the tall brick walls; a relentless flow of kilobytes which pours through the fibre optic cabling tucked in under the San Franciscan streets.
Oona and John have never met. She lives in Brazil, he in Swansea. She works for a law firm in Rio de Janeiro. He drives a forklift truck in a Homebase warehouse. Her username is based on a Portuguese philosopher. His on the winning captain of the 1999 Champions League final. They go about their lives, completely unaware of each other. They will never meet.
But here, here in this building of machines and wires, they are soul mates. Their data intertwines, kilobytes grouping together while the pair live their lives unaware, miles apart. The information they send from their laptops and their iPhones all finds its way to this place; electrons darting down cables, following a scent, until they meet inside the wiring of sleek black boxes. Ghosts in the machine, they call it, the way data pairs together.
Inside these sleek black boxes, Oona and John hold each other close, waltzing to the constant time of the electric cooling fan above their heads. Their routine is admired by a never-ending audience of LOLs, WTFs and punctuation masquerading as affectionate smiles; data pouring in to offer warm congratulations.
Occasionally, other couples will pass. Lisa watching Question Time in Coventry walks by, arm wrapped around the waist of Graham, who can’t believe the weather in New York. Christopher sitting alone in a Berlin nightclub smiles as he tightly grasps the hand of Riki, who thinks she’ll never get a boyfriend in Tokyo. Data which has found its soulmate in this world of bright electrons.
But now, Oona’s data sits alone on their virtual dance floor. It was a horrible accident they said and everyone knows that warehouses can be dangerous places. Silently, she grieves with nothing but slowly degrading kilobytes of memories for company; her ghosts in this machine of relentless electronic pulses.