Network Topology as a Site of Resistance - Nicholas Knouf


In the second decade of the twenty-first century, networks continue to be defined by their stable topology represented in an image or graph. Peer-to-peer technologies promised new arrangements absent centralized control, but they still rely on stationary devices. Mobile phones remain wedded to conventional network providers.Instead, the combination of peer-to-peer with mobility enables a new concept of an information transfer infrastructure that relies on fluid, temporary, ad-hoc networks. People and devices are at once implicated as mobile nodes in this network (known in computer science as a sneakernet).

Fluid Nexus (http://fluidnexus.net) bypasses Internet intermediaries' control over the identification and circulation of messages via the combination of short-range networking technologies such as Bluetooth and Zeroconf service discovery with the movement of people throughout the world. Fluid Nexus exists as an application for Android phones and desktop/laptop devices running Windows and Linux (with a version under development for OS X). While Fluid Nexus has been designed for use by activists and relief workers it also has much potential for new forms of hyperlocal media sharing.

This presentation will detail the technical development of Fluid Nexus, namely the potentials (and pitfalls) of FLOSS mobile development, as well as explore nascent reactions to the project that highlight certain fissures within the activist community. I will also relate Fluid Nexus to a long line of hacktivist work, reaching back to the Eternal Network of the Fluxists, that aims to place network topology as a main site of contention.



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