Art Gene, Bath Street, Barrow-in-Furness,
Cumbria, LA14 5TY England, UK
Since July 2018, Agorama has been investigating the possibilities of peer-2-peer (p2p) network infrastructures, while striving to establish a distributive autonomous network of platforms for creative exploration. When showing for Art Gene’s Extreme Views online exhibition, this was located at Rebecca’s Flat (Raven Row Gallery), the collective has been organising regular p2p web meet-ups for anyone interested in an alternative web, and in facilitating the development of alternative grass roots models for digital communication. Their aim is to form a community interested in experimenting, developing and maintaining a co-operative-based Internet infrastructure.
The initial stage for the Server Co-op focused on community building and explored together current activities happening in the open source community around the development of new Internet protocols – particularly those that focused on peer to peer communication. At the heart of the World Wide Wed (WWW) there are various protocols in use which we take for granted such as HTTP, which allow for our computers (and smart phones) to speak with each other. The creator of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, devised WWW’s system protocols on the basis of establishing a one to many connection. This fundamental ideas is what propelled the Web to be, at least in our current time, a powerful platform for broadcasting.
Yet at the same time – which can be seen in recent political judicial hearings amongst other events – the web isn’t as open and free as once thought… It was with this thought in mind that the Server Co-op was born.
For the last 6 to 8 months the co-op has been able to run monthly meet-up, each one geared to exploring another part of the peer to peer ecosystem… Leading to the group learning about parallel communities and projects engaging with the same subject, for example Samiz Dat, alternative protocol projects such as Secure Scuttlebutt, and finally culminating in a weekend-long makers/think-tank session.
This first stage has yielded a tremendous amount of information and insight into the plausibility of instantiating an alternative network. Simultaneously these experiences have helped grow the Server Co-op community and bring together a diverse group of people from various disciplines and backgrounds, all interested in actioning change.
It’s with that reflection in mind that Agorama is proposing to enact stage two, to further manifest a tangible co-operative network…
At the heart of the co-operative is the idea for self-sustainability through knowledge and education. Through these means Agorama has focused most of its research time in learning, devising tutorials, and the base-software/resource needed for anyone to establish their own home server.
Our main intention is to streamline our experimentation with Raspberry Pi’s as a personal server and roll out a comprehensive installation and setup materials, or the option of Agorama building a personal Pi Server for co-op members that might find the task a bit daunting.
Thus far the established base resources (located on the Agorama Github page), which Agorama would like to progress with further are:
Further to this, Agorama also has the ambition to establishing an autonomous p2p cloud service (fork for the time being from @beaker/hashbase), and provide a potential hub to support the community, while also establishing a low barrier of entry for individual, parties, or organisations to get started on the p2p web.
Finally, in a more recent development, Agorama has devised a homebrew program for keeping track of this budding co-operative network and the content it’ll be serving to Internet goers: Distributive Server Co-op map.
Cumbria, LA14 5TY England, UK
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