Networked events in the public domain

Before describing the cases I will first sketch the context in which they were conceived. Each case study is what I will call a networked event. A networked event is an event in which people gather physically in a place and in which online communication facilitated by Internet technology and other information and communication technologies play an important role. In the online environment other people who are not present in the physical location, can participate, and/or the people present can also connect in non-physical ways. Such environments became possible with the rise of the Internet. In the development of these new formats insights from art and technology, from entertainment and from the social sciences played an important role. Firstly, new collaborations evolved in art and technology and entertainment events, between artists and people who could make the technology work. Designers, programmers and hardware engineers have to collaborate to enable such work to be created. In the case studies that I present in this chapter and in chapter 4, these kinds of 'first-time collaborations' took place, in which art, technology and the individuals who presented the social agenda were required to work together. Both the Galactic Hacker Party and the Seropositive Ball took place within the cultural context of Amsterdam. These events were part of the public domain. They were produced and hosted by Paradiso, a musical venue in the centre of Amsterdam with an established international reputation.

The two events are well documented in the sense that the proceedings were made available based on the audio material (Riemens 1989, Riper et al. 1990). Paradiso and Hack-Tic published the first edition of the proceedings of the GHP in 1989. Village Design Inc. in San Francisco (USA) published the second edition of these proceedings, also in 1989 (Riemens 1989). An impression of the Seropositive Ball was published by the Centre for Innovation and Cooperative Technology at the University of Amsterdam (Riper et al 1990).

Around 1000 people took part in each of the events. Each event used on and offline communication in connection with one another. The two cases took place before the Internet became commercial, they occurred before the 'dotcom' hype, before millions of people went online. They were exploration events. On both occasions it was a first-time shared experience for many people present.

Because I have approached the case studies from the perspective of 'producing multiple presences', I have asked close collaborators of the time to review the work presented here. Key-informants for the Galactic Hacker Party, which will be discussed in this chapter, were Rop Gonggrijp, Patrice Riemens and Jan Dietvorst. Rop Gonggrijp and Patrice Riemens co-produced the event with me as external partners and I will introduce them later. Jan Dietvorst is the colleague from Paradiso who was specifically involved in the networked events to be discussed. Because I will also discuss Paradiso's methodology, I asked Jan Willem Sligting, a former colleague who at the time was, and still is, the musical artistic director, and also Pierre Ballings, the current executive director of Paradiso, to comment specifically on the section about Paradiso.