Captain Crunch had already made contact with Moscow on the first day. So we saw letters on the screen typed by Russian guys in English (the connection was made via the Well in San Francisco). The Berlin Wall had not yet come down. There was great tension in Eastern Europe (Vaclav Havel had been sentenced to prison in Prague) and the world behind the Iron Curtain was, possibly because of the start of Perestroika, in its last ludicrous throes of power. It was great to know that we were in 'contact' with Moscow, but walking in and out of the auditorium, it was more letters on a screen. And I was happy to see Crunch was happy, and other people who all believed in the connection, were happy. We were struck; we were penetrating the Iron Curtain!
The first time that I saw an e-mail in 1982 I was shocked by the triviality of the sentence, conveyed by so much technology. The e-mail said: 'Hi, I bought new shoes'. This time, because we'd said Hi and waved to the other side of the iron curtain, I was shocked and touched. They, the tech guys, could actually go across borders; no politics could prevent people from connecting with each other anymore.
I was witnessing the mediated presence of the Russians and realized Crunch was mediating his presence to them. The audience was witnessing this exchange of mediated presences. As a producer I was really happy, as a person I was shocked because we could actually do it. I was touched because it meant we could cross over borders, in the good sense. Even though it was confusing, running from Amsterdam via the USA to the USSR, via the Well in San Francisco to Moscow? Who was playing what game? How the different interests were interwoven was not transparent. Political realities have an impact on connectivity, they did at the time and they still do today. This issue was discussed at the GHP a great deal. The connection with the Russians made it an experience for me. What actually happened and how it happened I do not know. I saw an interactive representation of a possibility.