this mesh begins as a stolon (a community mesh network)

(Cette note n'est disponible qu'en anglais.*)

This note was created as part of interConnect, a collaborative inquiry into digital transformation. Learn more in the box at the end of the text.

Drawing of a plant. Credit: Noelle Lee

This Mesh Begins as a Stolon [Community Mesh Network] is a community driven digital technology project that included the design, development, and building of a mesh network (see also) within Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside & Chinatown. Offering free wifi to those in the community, the first node is located within the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》 Garden at 271 Union Street. A second node has since been installed at a community garden at coFood Vancouver. While the first phase of the project has come to completion, as a community mesh network, the project remains ongoing. 

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 took advantage of the foresight offered by having both the time and space to consider the ways in which a mesh network might be introduced, constructed, and utilized by the community. As a prototype, the project’s goal was to take time to think through the multitude of ways in which a mesh network 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 into the future; aid 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 was part of 221A’s Fellowship program proposed and led by Christina Battle in response to her 2020-2022 research project Imaging New Systems of Exchange. 221A work with artists and designers to research and develop social, cultural and ecological infrastructure.

The initial prototype launched in the fall of 2023.


About the location of the first node: Semi-Public 半公開 is a cultural space operated by 221A on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Located in Chinatown and adjacent to historic Hogan’s Alley, where the Georgia Street Viaduct now stands, the garden site is a place where Indigenous peoples, Chinese-Canadians, and the African diasporic community have all experienced cultural, class, and economic struggle. Our governments are beginning to acknowledge the shameful strategies used to systematically inflict injustice on generations of racialized communities. x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》nurtures ecological processes and community members alike. Designed by T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, a Skwxwú7mesh/Sto:Lo/Hawaiian/Swiss artist, ethnobotanist, and educator, this site was designed and redressed from a vacant lot into a public garden with flora indigenous to this territory

About this note

  • This note was nurtured by the discussions that took place during interConnect workshops particularly those of co-learning group 1.2.
  • Note authored by Christina Battle with revision support from Samuel Thulin and the interConnect team.

The interConnect initiative was led by the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA). The views expressed in this note are those of the author(s) and not official IMAA recommendations.


*interConnect était une initiative bilingue. Cependant, en raison de la quantité de contenu créé au cours du projet, et compte tenu des contraintes budgétaires et de la capacité de l'équipe, toutes les notes n'ont pas été traduites.

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Digital Initiatives in the Broad Visual and Media Arts Sector/Initiatives...
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Intégré par Samuel Thulin, le 18 octobre 2023 13:24
1. Research Project /Projet de recherche, 3. Partnership and collaboration /Partenariat et collaboration, 4. Tools and Platforms /Outils et plateformes, 5. Models and frameworks /Modèles et cadres conceptuels, 1. Equity and Diversity /Équité et diversité, 2. Access and inclusion /Accès et inclusion, 3. Public Engagement and Community Outreach /Engagement du public et sensibilisation de la communauté, 5. Collaboration and co-creation /Collaboration et co-création, 6. Infrastructure, Technology and Equipment /Infrastructure, technologie et équipement, 7. Data-related practices and digital workflow /Pratiques liées aux données et flux de travail numérique, English

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BC, Canada


18 octobre 2023


29 mars 2024 11:48

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Pour citer cette note

Christina Battle, Projets AAMI / IMAA Projects, Benjamin J. Allard, Pascaline Le Bras, Samuel Thulin. (2023). this mesh begins as a stolon (a community mesh network). Praxis (consulté le 15 juillet 2024),