‘FreeAsInWifi’ is a wifi network and captive portal intended to prompt critical reflection on the multiple meanings of ‘free’ and ‘public’ through a set of playful interactions.
At a time when technology is becoming increasingly integral to all aspects of public life, this project aims to provide an opportunity for people to reflect on their own understandings, beliefs and desires of a ubiquitous public technology: freely available public wifi. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s radical pedagogy, the research aims to understand how critical design can support people in thinking critically and creatively about the world around them.
While critical design aims to provoke reflection upon social and political issues, it often fails to facilitate people taking an active role in this reflection, something Freire identifies as crucial to gaining a critical understanding. With this in mind, the portal requires people to be actively engaged in reflection by navigating, making decisions and responding creatively to the interface and technology.