from net to cloud
organic patterns


What we called surfing, we now call sharing. What was once cyberspace and The Net are now platforms. All of these are metaphors, but we might be less likely to notice them as such, because this is how dominant metaphors work – as infrastructures.

N. Markham, Annette, Weidenberg, Katrin (Ed.), Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity, Peter Lang Publishing, New York 2020, p. 9.

From Net, City, World to Cloud, Market, Sea investigates how we narrate and imagine the Internet with the help of metaphors. Net stands for the relations between various forms of infrastructure; City conceives cyberspace as an urban and social site; World focuses on utopias beyond the laws of physics and politics; Cloud marks the Internet as an ephemeral and decentralized repository; Market zeroes in on the commercialization of Web3; and Sea opens up the metaphor of water for the digital data stream.

On the basis of these six terms, the project traces various narratives, experiences, and points of historicity of the Internet. It moves from the overarching metaphors of the Internet to concrete visual manifestations and attempts to historicize the Internet and its linguistic imaginaries.

From Net, City, World to Cloud, Market, Sea is funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin and takes place in collaboration with /rosa, diffrakt zentrum für theoretische peripherie e.V., Hopscotch Reading Room, and The project entails a publication, a reading group, a workshop, and six public events.

organic patterns

Narrating the Internet

Writing Workshop

WithJackie Grassmann & Anneliese Ostertag
Date11.05. – 12.05.2024, 11.00am – 6.00pm
Location /rosa Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 35,10178 Berlin (max. 12 participants)

We tell many stories about life, but what kind of stories do we actually tell about the Internet? Which net-experiences, phenomena and tropes are forgotten over time, and which new ones emerge and why?

Can the Internet be narrated at all? Which adversities do we encounter when we try it? With the help of writing exercises and text examples we want to approach those questions and find words for the stories and narratives the WWW might has to offer. One thing is for sure: in the digital space we can draw from a large pool of language, because it is full of metaphors: An Email is sent as a paper airplane, we surf, and our data is stored in clouds.

Together we want to explore the political and literary potential of Internet stories, from virtual pony farms to booktok. No previous knowledge is required, except an interest in cyberspace. The workshop is free of charge and can be held in English and/or German based on the participants needs and wishes.

Metaphors we click by

Reading Group

The Internet is full of metaphors. Our use of language, the descriptions of our everyday applications and experiences of the Internet, are incredibly figurative: we stream films and series, store data in the cloud, teach AI as if it were a child and construct fantastic worlds in video games. The Reading Group “Metaphors we click by” wants to explore these images: their historicity, their influence on our notions of the Internet, their technical manifestations. Together with interested people, we want to read various texts (German/English), visit websites, and discuss our own use of the Internet. We will meet weekly from 21.02.2024 (6 dates in total) in the project room.


The internet is in a constant state of flux, with both hardware and software constantly changing. We can rarely recognise these different temporalities on our screens - the digital material never fades. Our experiences on the internet and the stories we tell ourselves about them are likewise transforming. But like the digital material, we are rarely aware of the shifts in language.

The Storytelling-Kit invites artists, authors and theorists to use the metaphors Net, City, World, Cloud, Market, Sea to trace the stories of the internet, to dig into the layers of the internet. Three commissioned contributions per metaphor reflect the linguistic technique of visualisation and take up the expectations of the respective image area.

The concept and design is orientated towards experimental literature, such as the adventure book and post-structuralist novel, and invites the reader to collectively read aloud, play and retell.

With contributions by Rahel Aima, Kendal Beynon, Joachim Blank, Andreas Bülhoff, Tim Etchells, Orit Gat, Omar Kasmani, Olia Lialina, Geert Lovink, Harun Maye, Cassie McQuater, Penny Rafferty, Mario Santamaria, Afrah Shafiq, Andrea Sick, Molly Soda, Julian Stallabrass, Lotte Warnsholdt.

organic patterns


Kuratorisches Konzept

Tereza Havlíková, Julia Kochanek, Anneliese Ostertag

Graphisches Konzept

Judith Weber


Diana Thun


Elfi Rückert


Igor Štromajer


Paloma Oliveira

Die Realisierung des Projektes wird aus Mitteln des „Hauptstadtkulturfonds“ ermöglicht.