Makerspace indoor
11:15 - 12:15
Portable Network Kit (PNK): Building Community Tech

Short thesis

A Portable Network Kit (PNK) is a simply assembly of equipment that builds a basic wireless network (raspberry pi server + router + access point + battery). You can use it to communicate in an emergency, as an offline/local "sneakernet," or to share an internet connection. In this workshop we'll use a PNK to demystify wireless networking, and to create a consentful technology - one that embeds our consent as users, our control of our digital bodies, into tech design and function.


This workshop uses a Portable Network Kit (PNK) as a platform to learn about wireless networking. The goal of the workshop is to use a Community Technology approach to explore how we build tech together, with user consent embedded from the ground up. We start with these understandings:

  • Community Technology is method of teaching and learning about technology with the goal of building & restoring relationships and communities (Detroit Community Technology Project);
  • Consentful Technology is modeled on equitable access, participation in the design process, ownership and control of our digital bodies, and communities built through consensual processes (Una Lee, Building Consentful Tech)

As we use and explore the PNK, we will ask and answer a series of questions together:

  • What do we want to use our PNK for? (emergency communications, archiving/art, sharing internet, etc.)
  • How will it hold our digital/data bodies? How will we interact using the PNK?
  • What decisions do we need to make together about how the PNK works and what it does?
  • What principles do we want our PNK to express? (consent, participation, simplicity, access, healthy relationships, etc.)
  • What data should our PNK collect and retain, or what data should we purge? How should we use the data?
  • How will we hold ourselves accountable to the principles we decide upon, and express them to users?

Based on our decisions and principles, we will use the PNK to perform some simple tasks and reflect on how tech interactions could involve us instead of acting upon us. What would it take to make all of our technologies consentful?