OKLDCAAN: Capital Building of the Oakland Security Cloud


In the dead center of Oakland, California stands a blank monolith almost as tall as City Hall. The AT&T telecommunications switching hotel at 1587 Franklin (also known by the code letters OKLDCAAN in the telecom world) is the protagonist of this story, given its privileged location in the downtown core. It is a solemn tower devoid of anything designed for human occupation; an oversized server encased in its upright tomb, camouflaged by blind glass and security barriers at its base, covered in ivy laden trellises to snare one’s glance from climbing any further upwards. Its minimal canopies over the sidewalk are apparently all it takes to avert a more critical public gaze. 1587 Franklin is a new Tribune Tower, the old Oakland landmark of the Knowland clan’s port wealth. It is, on the other hand, also emblematic of the more fluid, impersonal, cryptic, elusive, and infrastructural power of neoliberal capital; a distantly and rapidly circulating capital that is simultaneously fixed and rooted in history and place. Footloose, yet fortressed.