This project emerged out of a general frustration with a lot of the various “learn to code” and “digital/data/web literacy” projects that have proliferated in the past few years. In general, the subject matter focused on for these projects, while totally worthy subject matter, tends to overemphasize creating either productive contributors to a certain kind of web dev/app-building paradigm (i.e., “learn to code so you can get a job at Google”) or a creating capable consumers of online content (i.e., here’s a browser, here are cookies).
Sometimes harder issues of surveillance and security come up (and again, these are important!), but in general the foundations of why the internet as we know it is the internet as we know it, and how it works at core protocol and physical levels is often dismissed as impractical.
Networks Land is a project that mostly operates with the assumption or at least hope that by introducing core concepts of how and why the internet works a certain way (geographically, politically, protocologically), it might be possible to start imagining how it might work differently.
We also worked with the excellent design studio Disk Cactus to design and prototype one of the first activity kits.
Networks Land was initially funded with a grant from the Knight Prototype Fund. We are ridiculously lucky to have gotten to work with them.