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(Archive) Packet Run

Discover the inner workings of the internet as a marble run

This project was part of DDW 2023
Eva van der Born

Billions of people use the internet every day. We feel its effects deeply, but how does the internet actually work?

Packet Run is an interactive installation that helps you experience the inner workings of the internet as a marble run. Learn about how the future internet is kept safe and reliable

The internet as a marble run

Your daily internet usage involves hundreds of computers, dozens of companies, thousands of kilometers and millions of little packets.

Every time you do something on the internet, you send out a request to a server and you get a response. This exchange is mediated by packets: tiny pieces of data containing requests and responses.

These packets are sent through sorting machines called routers and across cables that span the globe hundreds of times over. These cables and routers form a decentralised network supported by hundreds of thousands of companies and service providers.

In Packet Run, you experience what it's like to be such a packet. You travel across the globe to retrieve the data that is necessary to view a single website. Along the way, you'll learn who controls basic internet infrastructure and the risks associated with how it's set up.

Packet Run was created in collaboration with SIDN Labs. It is based on fundamental research on which paths packages take on the internet.

This project is supported by a grant from SIDN Fonds.

Eva van der Born