DIY WiFi: Making homebrew high-technology in suburban backyards was held in one of my fieldsites in Australia in 2007. It showcased interim findings from my PhD about the ‘make-do’ methods, ‘mods’ (modifications) and resourceful ingenuity borne of intractable materials and conditions of ‘backyard technologists’ committed to making their own internet in suburban Australia.
Reflecting the make-do and materials-at-hand approach of my respondents, the installation incorporated the side of a house, clothes pegs, stickytape, nails and power cords. There was no defined trajectory or guided viewing plan to shape individual experiences. Participants, predominantly respondents and their families, interacted with my research by literally entering into it, touching, talking about and, at the end of the event, taking away materials interested them. Feedback was immediate and invaluable to my ongoing analysis. It served to illustrate how the process of carving out space where ideas are open and exploratory invites collaboration from respondents in the making of sociological knowledge.