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About the Project:

this mesh begins as a stolon (a community mesh network) saw the design, development, and building of a mesh network within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside & Chinatown. Inspired by 221A’s x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》garden, this project took the time to consider strategies for expanding and developing this necessary infrastructure in ways that were both responsive and responsible to the surrounding community. Pulling from strategies found within plant systems and networks, the project aimed to take advantage of the foresight offered by having both the time and space to consider the ways in which a MESH might be introduced, constructed, and utilized by the community. As a prototype, the project’s goal was to take time thinking through the multitude of ways in which a mesh might be developed: to install an initial node to be expanded on in the future; create a Terms of Service to help guide and shape responsible and careful use of the network; aide local communities in learning how to access and utilize the network (and get excited by its potential); and to create a guide reflecting on the process in order to share knowledge with future users.

This project is part of 221A’s Fellowship program. 221A work with artists and designers to research and develop social, cultural and ecological infrastructure.

Not familiar with Mesh Networks? Check out this essay: What is a MESH Network by Rosemary Heather.

Project Collaborators:

Christina Battle: Research Fellow and Project Lead
Christina Battle is an artist based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (also known as Edmonton, Alberta), within the Aspen Parkland: the transition zone where prairie and forest meet. Her practice focuses on thinking deeply about the concept of disaster: its complexity, and the intricacies that are entwined within it. She looks to disaster as a series of intersecting processes including social, environmental, cultural, political, and economic, which are implicated not only in how disaster is caused but also in how it manifests, is responded to and overcome. Through this research, Battle looks closer to both online models and plant systems for strategies to learn from, and for ways we might help to frame and strengthen such response. []

Noelle Lee: Community Lead Embedded Artist
Noelle Lee (Yinnuo/Yannok/Ayan/李茵諾) is an interdisciplinary artist based in the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) unceded territories, otherwise known as Vancouver. They are Peranakan (Hokkien-Sulawesi), Chinese-Canadian, and Hong Kong-Chinese. Stemming from an interest in migration, his practice looks at new imaginaries that go beyond binaries, drawing from hybrid realities and contradictory histories. They are especially interested in tracing the spatial and temporal cross-pollination that occurs throughout language, food, garment, and belief. Her work thinks through networks of local and global infrastructure, functioning through a place of trial and error, with continuous questioning of the new imaginary that is being posited. Their material practice is land-based, ranging from gardening for natural textiles, dyes, and foods, to an investigation in conceptual and digital technologies. 

Rithikha Rajamohan: Research Consultant
Rithikha Rajamohan is the Founder and Director of the V6A Collaborative, a network organization working to develop and deploy civic infrastructure needed for the 21st century. V6A was born from the recognition that cognizant and scalable civic experimentation is a powerful tool to help societies adapt and thrive in times of change. Managing a portfolio of coalition-based rewilding, community technology and open democracy projects, Rithikha supports V6A’s mission to leverage the existing wealth of social, ecological and technological knowledge in communities and employ them to support the transition to more sustainable, cooperative ways of living. The shared, unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, also known as Vancouver, BC, is one of many places Rithikha calls home.

Sergio Rondero: Community Advisor

Herb Varley: Community Advisor 

Boris Mann: Technical Advisor
Boris is a long time technologist, entrepreneur, & community builder both on and offline in Vancouver and beyond. Boris is the founder of Fission, a startup working on developer tools supporting user-owned data and decentralized computing. Locally, he’s helping to grow the DWeb Vancouver community, and is a board member of the CoSocial Community Cooperative, building Canadian owned social media. He likes to cook & eat. []

Jacob Sayles: Technical Advisor

Greg McMullen: Legal Counsel

221A Staff: Tao Fei, Jesse McKee, and Stephan Wright

Gratitude for additional support by: Jacob Sayles; Coworking BC; Cascadia Collaborative Design; Boris Mann; and DWeb Vancouver.

We would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for sharing their journey in building and sustaining community mesh networks of all shapes and sizes with us:
Seattle Community Network — Esther Jang
Bring The Web — Dana Ralutz, Colby Hollabaugh, Ben Bondy, Anthony Stewart
Coolab – Tanya Silva
Toronto Mesh/Hypha Worker Co-operative – Benedict Lau
Newport Wireless Mesh — Diane Peel
Philly Community Wireless — Alex Wermer-Colan
Personal Telco Project — Russell Senior
Bring The Web — Dana Ralutz, Colby Hollabaugh, Ben Bondy, Anthony Stewart 
Mass Mesh — Stephen Smith 
Janastu COW Mesh/Independent Consultants — Sarbani Belur, Amudhan Manivasagam
The Association for Progressive Communications/Alter Mundi — Nico Pace