Introduction to the 0+Ball

The 0+Ball was organized with many partners and it had a variety of issues it wanted to address, as will become clear later. The programme for the 0+Ball is included in appendix 4. The source material on which this case study is based consists of The Proceedings, published by the Center for Innovation and Cooperative Technology (CICT) at the University of Amsterdam, and 8 Personal Folders that were used by the organizers during the production of the 0+Ball. They are labelled: before the 1st of May, personal letters, correspondence IN/OUT, Caroline, 0+Network, Workshops and Debates, Fold and Follow UP and Documentation. The Personal Folders are rather chaotically archived and contain all kinds of material, which is no surprise because a number of people worked with them. Apart from all this written and printed documentation there is my own techno-biographical layer of perception because I was the producer of the event. An historical account that attempts to understand the significance of an event like the 0+Ball would also have to analyse the archives of all the partners involved and interview many people. Since I am exploring the design of presence in this case study I will only work with the above mentioned material. As a social scientist I will argue, in choosing this case study, that it was a moment of significance in the history of presence design. As Heleen Riper, one of the key-informants of this case study formulated it, the 0+Ball offered a multimedia mix 'avant la lettre'. Key-informants, who have reviewed this case study report, are Heleen Riper, David Garcia and Annette Verster. Both Heleen Riper, who was connected to the Centre for Collaborative Technology at the University of Amsterdam in 1990, and David Garcia, who was an independent visual artist in 1990, were co-producers of the 0+Ball. Annette Verster, who was connected to the GG&GD, the Health Service Amsterdam, collaborated with us as participating organization.note 132

Going through my Personal Folders so many years later, I now find notes, letters and traces of people who have since died; Andre Bongers and Eric Hamwijk, Matthew Lewis, Gregory Given, Martien Krouwel, Wick Ederveen, Peter Zuydervliet and Bart Eijrond, among others, were crucial in creating the 0+Ball and its off-shoots. Heleen Riper mentions Jeanine van Woerkom and Anita Bolderbei in this context, who were among the first women diagnosed with HIV in the Netherlands and who courageously demanded attention for the situation of women and HIV/AIDS. I have also found traces of people of whom I cannot say if they are alive or dead, but of the people who were diagnosed at the time with HIV or AIDS, I have to speculate about what might have happened to them. If they have died the cause may have been AIDS, but not necessarily so. I have met many people in my life of whose whereabouts I am now unsure, but the curse of being diagnosed with the virus changes the perception of one's own life as well as the perception of one's life by others. In 1990 there was no combination therapy, and HIV was not a chronic condition yet. Such a change of perception towards one another can easily be felt as humiliating as Martien Krouwel suggests: "Every human being is mortal, but why should I have to exchange my drive for life for waiting for death when I am seropositive? I work and live from a deep feeling that has nothing to do with the fact that I am seropositive" (Krouwel 1990, 116).note 133

Below, I will first sketch the situation concerning AIDS and HIV in 1990, which was a very different situation than today. After that I will introduce ACT UP and the different partners that were collaborating in the 0+Ball. Then I will sketch at length how the 0+Ball came about, how we decided to do it, and after that I'll elaborate upon the production phase. The 0+Ball clearly built on the experience of the GHP. Notions like 'social interface', conveying 'trustworthiness', collaboration between different skills were all taken a step further. Therefore the production design was more elaborate from the perspective of presence and the design of trust in social interaction and collaboration. For this reason I focus mostly on the collaboration between people in describing the event.

My choice of describing the collaboration between the producers and participants in such detail stems from the writing of stories in the text laboratory, and I also made that choice because in 2006 many organizations are still struggling to discover how to orchestrate collaboration using different media. I will not discuss what happened literally during the days of the 0+Ball. The programme in appendix 4 gives a clear impression. I will focus explicitly on the way we designed the different presences in natural presence, mediated and witnessed presence in Paradiso, via the radio and the network. After these accounts I will reflect on certain issues that surfaced during the 0+Ball: The context of the concept of the 0+Network, Vital Information, Crucial network and Orchestrating Chaos.