Julian Bleecker appropriates wireless network technology to create a device
that is not meant to connect people who are far from each other, but to
bring those who are close, closer. Inside this backpack there is an 802.11b
access point (the protocol used by wireless networks) that works, but is
useless for connecting to the Web. The aim is for the wearer of the backpack
(the wifi bedouin) to create a nomadic “Internet island” wherever
he goes, an autonomous data zone within which users - executives at the
airport, couples in a park - create their own social dynamic, with “blogs”,
“chats” or file sharing systems in which the only participants
are those within its reception radius.
In contrast to the usual wireless utopia of permanent and ubiquitous Internet access anywhere, anytime, WiFi Bedouin places the emphasis on proximity and creating a mobile wireless community that is physical rather than virtual. “The backpack doesn’t contain access to the Web without cables, but rather its own web” says Bleecker.