Mesh is a documentary about community-owned Internet & the future of networks.
Currently in production, it's an independent project initiated for Becky Kazansky's thesis at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. Advisors included Heather Greer, Clay Shirky, and Red Burns.
In 2012, a third of Americans lack access to broadband in their homes. Many more lack options for
affordable Internet access, or rely primarily on their phones. But the “digital divide,” so to speak,
is really about other divides – stubborn educational and socio-economic disparities, badly planned,
degrading physical infrastructure, and the telecommunications industry's focus on profit margins over
the needs of customers. Mesh (working title) is an hour-long documentary about a diverse movement of
people coming together around the need for affordable access to communications, the preservation of
free speech, and a vision for sustainable, community-owned infrastructure. The story centers around the
promise of community wireless networks and mesh Wi-Fi, a bandwidth-sharing technology emblematic
of the desire to create spontaneous, living alternatives to decaying infrastructure and centralized
systems of control. The film taps into something larger than the promise of any specific technologies,
however. Mesh is the story of what results when personal conceptions of liberty are coupled with a
desire to have it reflected in the world at the infrastructure level.With an in-depth look into current
and past efforts to build networks in Red Hook/Brooklyn, Detroit, Urbana-Champaign, Philadelphia,
D.C, as well as an invaluable comparative study of the rise of robust European community networks in
Berlin,Vienna, Barcelona, and Athens, Mesh will explore the large themes of progress, innovation, and
digital justice through personal stories that put faces to complex issues often left abstract.
Greg Dorsainville created the animated sequence you see at the end -- which uses graphical elements courtesy of Nina Bianchi and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition's Neighborhood Planning Platform.
Footage of Jonathan drawing connected people courtesy of Jonathan Baldwin.
Screen capture of dynamic FunkFeuer mesh network visualization courtesy Aaron Kaplan.
Thanks to Red Hook Initiative + Tony Schloss, Jonathan Baldwin, Greg Dorsainville, Nina Bianchi, Joshua Breitbart, DDJC, Ben Moskowitz, and to everyone who appears in this video.
More info about Becky Kazansky: beckykazansky.com