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The Potato Internet is an intervention, and a provocation created by Caroline Sinders in collaboration with Trammell Hudson. It’s a small-scale social network reimagining the internet in times of climate emergency and the global energy crisis that manifests as a sculptural installation utilizing potatoes and mesh networks made of recycled waste like e-ink displays to create a slow and small social network. The potatoes serve as organic connectors in the mesh network, where participants are invited to leave small notes that will appear within 24 hours and only be visible for 10 hours at a time. The sculptures themselves are inspired by Bauhaus planters, and use ‘common’ materials that can be purchased from most hardware stores.

When discussing alternatives for today's extractive and toxic online world, the usual commentary is 'but they don't scale up'. But what if the future of the internet is all about scaling down? In Potato Internet, the small scale allows the building of a functioning social network from scratch, rethinking all layers of the system, from hardware to protocols and governance. An 'anti-scale' network can be framed in a local context and endorse slow communication, by using common materials, recycled e-waste, and non extractive organic materials.

Within the installation, Sinders leads a series of performances and acts as a physical maintainer of the network. With participants, we together design a collaborative governance system of the Potato Internet platform based upon Sinders’ Feminist Data Set methodology, and these performance lectures and workshops serve as an interrogative method to bring the often invisible and highly private and corporatized systems into the light of the gallery space.

A first iteration of Potato Internet was realized as a residency production hosted by M-cult for a residency with the European Media Art Platform EMAP in 2022.