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Analyzing Function and Potential in Cuba's El Paquete: A Postcolonial Approach
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The dire state of Cuban internet connectivity has inspired local informal innovations. One such innovation is El Paquete, a weekly distribution of downloaded content spread through an informal network. Taking a postcolonial approach, I investigate through user experiences how this network operates in a resource-poor environment. This investigation articulates a model of El Paquete centered on social interactions, which inform the system’s function but also shape El Paquete’s design and role in society. Based on this model, a set of speculative design exercises probe possibilities to streamline El Paquete’s compilation, involve consumer preferences in its design directions, or act as a disruption tolerant network. In uncovering the technical possibilities of El Paquete, these designs illuminate how its current design serves Cuban communities by embodying realities and limitations of Cuban society. El Paquete’s embodiment of informal innovation serves as a call to designers to continuously rethink development design processes, centering communities and their knowledge and technical practices.

Abstract [sv]

Det kritiska tillståndet för den kubanska internetanslutningen har inspirerat flertalet informella lokala innovationer. Ett exempel på en sådan innovation är El Paquete, vars lösning går ut på distribution av nedladdat innehåll som sprids veckovis genom ett informellt nätverk. Jag har undersökt hur detta nätverk fungerar i en resursfattig miljö genom att undersöka användarupplevelser ur ett postkolonialt perspektiv. I denna undersökning framförs en modell av El Paquete som inriktas på sociala interaktioner, vilket utgör systemets funktioner men som också formar El Paquete’s design och samhällsroll. Baserat på denna modell undersöks möjligheterna till att effektivisera El Paquete’s sammanställning, genom ett antal olika spekulativa designövningar som inkluderar konsumentpreferenser i designinriktning, eller som ett avbrottstolerant nätverk. Dessa designer belyser hur dagens tekniska möjligheter med El Paquete är till nytta för kubanska samhällen genom förkroppsligandet av deras verklighet och begränsningar. El Paquete’s förkroppsligande av informell innovation fungerar som en uppmaning till designers att kontinuerligt ompröva utvecklingen av designprocesser som fokuserar på samhällets kunskap och tekniska praxis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Series
TRITA-EECS-EX ; 2018:399
Keywords [en]
El Paquete; Cuba; resource-poor networking; ICT4D; Computing within limits; postcolonial computing; informal innovation.
National Category
Interaction Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-229990OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-229990DiVA, id: diva2:1215986
Subject / course
Media Technology
Educational program
Master of Science - Media Technology
Presentation
2018-06-01, 1625, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-03 Created: 2018-06-10 Last updated: 2018-08-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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