At the GHP we had seen the power of such networks for emancipation and political struggle, and the politics surrounding HIV and AIDS, we assumed, could greatly benefit from this. The mass media more or less denied the crisis at the time and the networks could offer a sharing of knowledge and experience as was never possible before and which seemed to be highly relevant because AIDS and HIV were already spreading on a global scale, the pharmaceutical and medical establishment were not opening up and everywhere people were in distress as to what to do about it.note 163
In my experience to go from 'nothing to something' requires a lot of conversation and attention. The quality of the conversation and the courage to face what comes, largely defines what will ultimately happen. In the Folder Before the 1st of May I found several sketches of such conversations. The first sketch, by David Garcia, reflects a conversation between David and myself in October 1989 (see appendix 5). The second sketch I find is a first draft of the programme dated the 4th of November. And at the end of March I find a first draft for the setting up of the network (see appendix 5). "Paper, pencil, conversation and duration are what it takes to develop new cultures" said Jeebesh Bagchi (in a personal conversation in 2003) one of the founders of Sarai in New Delhi when talking about the Cybermohallah's (http;//www.sarai.org/cybermohallah's). To turn the Paradiso space into a place, to formulate a distinct culture for the duration of such an event and network, requires conversations and requires the conversations to be expressed. In chapter 5, I will elaborate further on the concept of conversation.
Looking at the first sketches, it is clear that we were thinking 'network' and we were thinking 'international' and we were thinking 'art'. When reviewing this text David Garcia emphasized that to him the works of the AIDS-activist-artists were among the best in years, in terms of content and quality. For Garcia it was as if his discipline of video-art had been rejuvenated and he felt that the influence of the AIDS-activist-artists on the tradition of art and activism was significant; it reached across all areas of creative practice; there was no distinction between rich and poor, the creative industries joined in the fight against AIDS and the traditional clash between activists and the dominant political culture was different than anything that had been seen before because the AIDS-activist-artists had changed the identity politics of representation and therefore changed the semiotic landscape.note 165