3 squiggly worms mushroom


Hi, and welcome to the second issue of COMPOST!

Short for commons post, we’re a magazine that publishes creative works reflecting on the web as a digital commons. It’s a project to create space for us to dream; to build a small corner of the web that’s built on care and solidarity. In our first issue, we explored fertile spaces for authentic connection and tenderness, among the banal constraints of the digital networks that we find ourselves trapped in.

This issue is about how we Inoculate networks with our consideration and attention, against the flattening, homogenizing forces of the internet. The dominant platforms have constructed an unimaginative reality, designing networks where the only visible relations that exist are those made legible and useful for extractive ends.

We are taking a step back; widening our scope and probing how we shape digital networks and how they shape us back. We explore how knowledge systems and authentic relationships can be made more accessible with digital infrastructure, while noticing how networked tools never fully reflect the boundless beautiful chaos of those living, breathing ecologies.

Active nodes in all kinds of networks–user profiles on social platforms, servers on the internet, routers in mesh networks, digital wallets in financial networks–are merely the visible expressions of deeper interconnections. What would happen if we paid closer attention to the often invisible, seemingly blank spaces between the nodes? What would it look like to challenge the obsession with constant visibility and relevance? While digital infrastructures reward us for marching towards a sleeker, faster, and more manufactured future, what if digital connection encouraged us to slow down and become more present in that in-between space?

From the marbles that traverse and connect across continental distances to the families that share memory-laden recipes, we imagine networks–online and offline–that resist the global internet clock. In this moment of content abundance, exponential time, planned obsolescence, and rapid product life cycles, what is the value of our metadata, our attention, and our capacity to care for one another? You will find a COPY MARKDOWN button on many pieces which allows you to post them elsewhere. We built this little tool for you to inoculate other blogs, other attention spaces, with the ideas and stories contained in this issue.

COMPOST too is just one visible node among evolving and weaving processes. We continue to experiment with our development and are closely observing what is working and what isn’t. In late spring, we debriefed with our Issue 01 contributors, learning how we could develop future issues and improve our process moving into the next phase of COMPOST. Over the summer, we worked collaboratively with our Issue 02 cohort, setting shared goals for the magazine and informing the features of our publication tool, Distributed Press. We’re seeing how we can continue to build on the relationships established with the contributors to have a strong, valued-aligned team that we gradually grow over time. As we do so, we’re learning from the creative pieces themselves. We see them as valuable reflections that ground COMPOST and Distributed Press.

We want to thank our contributors for all the care and attentiveness they have put into their works, as well as for their willingness to work with a scrappy team to get this publication off the ground. Huge thank you to Sharon and Hanami—our brilliant developers and designers for making this publication a reality. And a final big thanks to the organizations that sponsored and backed this project: Grant for the Web, Hypha Worker Co-operative, Nomadic Labs, Made By Super, Open Collective, Gitcoin, and last but not least, the Distributed Press.

If you enjoy this issue, please consider supporting us by becoming a subscriber or sending us a one-time donation (we offer several ways to do this, including through crypto). We also encourage you to share this issue via the World Wide Web or Decentralized Web. You can follow us on Twitter (@COMPOSTmag), Mastodon (social.coop/@COMPOST), Are.na, or join our very low traffic mailing list, to hear about any upcoming events and announcements.

Thanks for checking us out. (´• ω •`)ノ

In solidarity,

Mai Ishikawa Sutton
Tal Milovina
Udit Vira
Benedict Lau

A small stick of bamboo

Content License: CC BY-SA 4.0

We built this little tool for you to inoculate other web spaces with the ideas and stories contained in this issue. To re-publish this piece under the terms of the license, click below to copy the markdown.