Skills impact identity

Before the GHP, Paradiso had an Ethernet installed in the building, at the time this was already quite something. The Ethernet connected several locations in the large auditorium, the cellar and the small auditorium, but we had not anticipated that when the variety of computers were brought into the building we would have to connect them to each other and to the Ethernet network somehow. Being the 'producer' of this event in Paradiso, I had to learn very fast. So many skills are involved in making a network work. I was also finding that I was nurturing and actually mediating between the different skills. The server boys in the cellar needed to go on all night and needed champagne to keep on working. The hardware guys and the cablers needed food, good music and to be left alone. The young hackers needed attention amid all the publicity that was appearing and assurance that they would be safe... (I did phone Interpol and the Dutch secret service to check out their plans "we do not want a riot in the press, do we? What is your opinion about this? Will you collaborate... ? Of course you are invited!")

After we had opened the doors of Paradiso the network was up for about one hour. Then it was 'hacked'. Some people were very proud, and all the guys and one girl who were part of the creation of the GHP network were very shocked. Who wants to kill their own network? Do they not realise what miracle we have made happen? But of course the hacker ethic won at that moment. 'I guess we were not good enough', and a real competition between those upstairs and the cellar hackers began. Some rules were changed in the software and luckily enough the 'server guys' in the basement won.

Looking back I realise that this was the first time I had become aware of the different 'tech identities'. We did not only have the server guys, the hackers and the technicians, we also had people who made the network come into existence in terms of work and content. For them, the networks were a connection between people facilitated by technology, amongst other things. Peacenet, Greennet, Antenna and the Well were all represented by people who were present in Paradiso.

And there were computer developers. From the USA someone like Lee Felsenstein, who had been part of designing the personal computer. There were Artificial Intelligence people who saw bright brain futures and more. And there were the technicians at Paradiso, who made the basics of lighting, sound and projections work. Each person's vision and way of talking was determined by their touch and experience with the technology. At the time, I thought this was only natural, a cook knows different things about food than the farmer does. But today, at a time when the boundaries between technology and life have become more and more blurred, I wonder in what way technology skills actually have an impact on our identities.