Distributed Web of Care

Distributed Dance Floor

by Lai Yi Ohlsen, DWC Steward

The dance floor is a network. Bodies are nodes and the connections between them are edges.

The perfect dance floor is distributed. There is no central authority of movement, but we share the principles of the music. Individual bodies contribute to a collective energy and we move to maintain it throughout the night.

The Distributed Dance Floor has taught me the following:

Resiliency

Peer to peer connections increase the momentum of the network by increasing the number of edges our movement can be shared through. When we dance, we connect and when we connect, we seed. Seeding increases resiliency. The dance floor dies when nodes feel disconnected.

Authentication

As we dance, we use eye contact to check and verify the authenticity of our peers. While mostly fleeting, it is a way of sharing support and signing our connection into the network. For that moment, nodes become edges and a trust algorithm is performed.

Swarming

The dance floor is continuously collecting resources in an effort to redistribute them. The distributed web doesn’t centralize around any one dancer for more than a moment; the attention is shared. After we connect around a node, the swarm rejoins the network with connections stronger than before.

As I see it, there is one fundamental challenge: the dance floor is ephemeral. It is not built to scale. What we grow tonight will not be here tomorrow. And I have wondered - is the same true for a distributed network? Is there a limit to how much we can prioritize care over control?

But even if the individual dance floor doesn’t last, the nodes and edges that maintain them do. The distributed web is survived by its dancers. The dance floor is as sustainable as the peer to peer connections it supports.

What else can we learn from the Distributed Dance Floor?

About the Author:

Lai Yi Ohlsen is an artist and project manager with a background in movement and computer science.


group photo

Distributed Web of Care is an initiative to code to care and code carefully.

Distributed on Dat and GitHub.

2018