Short Circuits is a collaborative digital arts project that creates a new way for people to share stories and pictures that will be collected and used in a free, people’s publication There are a number of free to use access points around Blyth called ‘Shareboxes’. They look like Wi-Fi hot spots. We want you to connect to them and share new and old text, image and sound files that relate to the history and culture of Blyth. We want the unique perspective of people living in the Blyth area.

The project is inspired by the idea of ‘desire paths’, these are the dirt tracks people create when they take the shortest, or easiest route on their journey. They appear over time when people exercising free will, ignoring the standard paths they are offered. They can also appear spontaneously when it snows and normal routes are covered, forcing people to create new tracks. They are an very interesting thing to think about when building a community based creative project as it makes you plan around the way people do things naturally instead of asking people to do things that mean they have to go out of their way to take part.

How it works

Each Sharebox is made using a modified version of software from a project called ‘Librarybox’. We take low cost, portable WiFi routers and convert them to run an offline website that people can use to upload and download files. We then work with partners, spread around Blyth to install these Shareboxes so that people who live or travel through those parts of the town can find them and use them easily.

We are also experimenting with a number of solar powered Shareboxes. It would be great to build more of these. If they work as well as we think they will work we could build a version of a Shortcircuits Wi-FI network that can survive for about ten years without needing any electricity!

How to find and use them

If you visit http://www.shortcircuits.space/ you will see a map on the front page. This map shows the current whereabouts of all of the Shareboxes. The boxes will move around from time to time. Some will break and new ones will be added, so check the map regularly!

Once you are in the right place, check your phone (or other internet device) for a Wi-Fi network called ‘Sharebox’ and connect. You should automatically be taken to the Shortcircuits website. If you aren’t, open a browser and navigate to: http://sharebox.lan . Once your connected you will see where to upload images to and where to download things other people have shared.

Unfortunately, anything you upload won’t be available to everyone straight away. We check the content of each box about once a week to make sure no one gets any unpleasant surprises! So, please don’t share anything that could upset anyone, and please don’t upload anything that is copyrighted or belongs to anyone else.

Please add your name to any text documents you upload, or change the file name of images to include your name if you would like to be credited in the Shortcircuits publication!

Who is responsible

This project was commissioned by Bait in partnership with the Briardale Centre with funding from Arts Council England. It is being managed by The Briardale Centre and is the work of artist, Dominic Smith, who devised and is currently running the project.

How to get in touch

See the contact form on the home page of this website!