From Xenshana: Come Contribute to the Decentralisation Zone at MozFest and Create a New World

The Decentralisation Zone at MozFest 2018 will have a theme: Xenshana.

Xenshana is a parallel universe that explores notions of decentralisation in technology and beyond.

You can contribute to this theme by writing stories, creating art, music, or anything you like inspired by Xenshana


2018 will be the third time I’ve been to MozFest, and it has been roughly four years since I started volunteering with Mozilla. For those of you that don’t know (taken from Wikipedia), Mozilla is a free software community founded in 1998 by members of Netscape. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products, thereby promoting exclusively free software and open standards, with only minor exceptions. The community is supported institutionally by the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation and its tax-paying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation.

This year I was invited to help organise, or wrangle as they call it, one of the zones at MozFest: decentralisation, digital inclusion, openness, privacy and security, web literacy and the youth zone. I work in privacy and security but it is one of the popular zones to help out with. I wanted to serve where I would be really needed, and decentralisation is a topic close to my heart. As someone who also writes fiction when I have the time I also like a good story, and I recalled last year when I presented the decentralisation zone had a space description I really enjoyed. It was about using decentralisation to change the possible centralised dystopia we are headed to.

This year I get to leave my mark on this space, and I wanted to give people a theme they could really get into if they so choose. The wrangler cohort wanted to go with an optimistic and hopeful story this time around as a counterpoint to the darker story of 2017. I created a world called Xenshana.

Xenshana is a parallel universe to our own, and for three days over October 26th to 28th a doorway to this new dimension will appear at Ravensbourne College in London, England. MozFest is open for submissions if you want to see it for yourself. Rather than the centralisation in all things, technology, politics, government, the economy, environmental (yes, even land and it’s management can be centralised) to name but a few that we see in this world, Xenshana poses the question “what would a world look like if decentralisation was the norm and cultural standard people expected and demanded?”

This new world has a very different history to our own. North Africa, rather than the Mediterranean, was the centre of the world post the Punic Wars, leading to the cultures of Southern Africa becoming global powers and exporting their own brand of political, cultural, social, economic and spiritual thought called Ubuntuism. Rather than competition yielding the best outcome, for Xenshanans it is cooperation. Xenshanans see data as an extension of themselves, literally. In this world of high technology were people pool their resources together and collectively scale greater heights of science, data is collected on everyone, but stored securely with fine grain control of who can access what. Technology is built, from the outset, to respect people, not exploit them.

One of the most miraculous things about Xenshana is the Dream. Inspired by their creation myths of the Dreaming, the Everywhen, Xenshanans recognise that data can help us connect to our past, our past actions and even our ancestry through DNA. It can give context to our present and it can help guide us into and even predict the future. All the personal data that Xenshanans consentfully collect creates a simulacra, an entity called a Dreamer. Dreamers can be an embodiment of ancestors, historic figures, or composites of many people to create an entirely new personality. Dreamers work alongside humanity to connect us to our past and journey with us into the future, together.

Want to read more? Take a look here.

I’ve created an overview of this new and fantastic would and licensed it to the Commons, meaning that as long as you adhere to the requirements of the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 license, you can use this world for your own creative works. You can also help build and contribute to the world building documents as they stands now, just create a GitHub account and submit a pull request. Don’t understand GitHub? Just drop me an email at kademorton at protonmail dot com. The thing I’m really excited about is that you can also engage with this theme and the decentralisation zone itself, directly.

We need to bring Xenshana to life, and that is where you come in. Anything you create, be it stories set in Xenshana, artwork depicting Xenshana, music inspired by Xenshana, or something completely new none of us have even thought of, get it to me and we will do our level best to put it up in the decentralisation zone at MozFest. Our team of wranglers have already started thinking about how we can explore Xenshana through our physical space, there are talks about creating a rainbow serpent… Come be part, wherever in the world you are, this is going to be a lot of fun!

By diving deep into this theme we are hoping that people will come away with a profound sense of what decentralisation, in all senses, really means, and how it can be applied in the modern world.

From Xenshana with hope and optimism,

Kade.

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