Creating by presenting

In March and April 1990 we approached many people and organizations and we found that after a good conversation many people appreciated our initiative.note 171 In the following prospectus that we sent out at the end of April 1990 we stated "Paradiso is the organizer of the Seropositive Ball and its attendant activities, in collaboration with ACT UP Amsterdam, AIDS Info Monthly newsletter, Time Based Arts Gallery (Amsterdam), Antenna Foundation Nijmegen (member organization of the Interdoc network) and the University of Amsterdam's Center for Innovation and Cooperative Technologies (research group for Support, Survival and Culture)" (Personal Folder 'Before 1st of May', 1990). The prospectus consisted of several elements in the following order: a press release, a description of the setting for the Seropositive Ball, which describes Paradiso and how the place would be designednote 172 , a text about 'package time' note 173, a story which sketched the atmosphere of the 0+Ball, an impression of the Art that could be seen "in Places, on Walls, on Screens, in Networks", a provisional programme of issues that would be addressed in debates and workshops and a fact sheet about AIDS. The prospectus was sent around the various networks of the organizers. Michael Polman, from Antenna, had been part of the Galactic Hacker Party. Through his support, and the support of the INTERDOC network, at this early stage, the 0+Network was able to connect to the southern hemisphere as well. Not only the USA and Europe would be on the agenda for our conference, but via the net we could invite people to participate from other continents as well. The connection with Brazil, for example, turned out to be very fruitful, inspired by the 0+Ball they organized their own event later (Personal Folder Fold and Follow Up, 1990). In April 1990 we announced that the 0+Network was a demo version for a yet to be developed HIVnet in the future.

We also went abroad to find support for our initiative. In May, Andre Bongers and Eric Hamwijk from ACT UP went to the conference in Madrid and announced the organisation of the Seropositive Ball and the initiative of HIVnet.note 174 Heleen Riper travelled to the United States where she met many people in New York and San Francisco who were trying to organize collaborations. She attended a meeting of ACT UP New York and sent a fax to Paradiso "Yesterday I contacted Act Up New York and asked them to put me on the agenda for their next meeting. That was quite an experience! The ACT UP meeting was held in a hall that resembled the atmosphere of Paradiso, with about 300 activists present; it was warm, tense and prepared for action. Then it was my turn to take the microphone. I introduced myself as a member of ACT UP Holland, bringing greetings from Amsterdam, and told them about the demonstration at the American embassy. Then I told them about the Seropositive Ball (which was met by clapping and cheering, and I was overwhelmed). I was happy that all the negative stories about ACT UP New York are not all true. I made some contacts (see next page)" (Personal Folder 'Before 1st of May', 1990). In San Francisco Heleen met Arawn Eibhlyn and his lover Rama. Arawn was the coordinator of ACT Now at the time, which used to be the umbrella organisation for all ACT UP's in the USA. Arawn and Rama came to Amsterdam in May and we collaborated with them until the end of June. ACT NOW organised lots of demonstrations in the streets of San Francisco during the VI International Conference on AIDS, which we also wanted to affiliate with. Rama decided to organize an art event in association with us. It was named "69 hours". Meeting people in Amsterdam and abroad, having people from elsewhere as our guests, and using networks of trust to convey trustworthiness ultimately resulted in a rich spectrum of collaborators. Part of the success of the 0+Ball was the fact that these collaborations happened.

We registered for the VI International Conference on AIDS as members of the press and rented a room at the Marriot Hotel where the conference was being held.note 175 We also set up technology in the ACT NOW offices. In San Francisco a group of ACT UP artists worked laboriously to organize their "69 hours". In Paradiso we had lots of meetings to coordinate all the efforts and we communicated mostly via phone and fax to coordinate with other locations. A week before the programme was meant to take place we had a special meeting of all the Paradiso people at the special request of the cleaners. Because so many people still did not know how and when HIV could be transmitted, the Health Service Amsterdam gave a special lecture with a question and answer session, so that all the staff at Paradiso would be informed and able to perform as good hosts.

Apple, which was one of the few companies that actually had an AIDS policy, agreed to sponsor the 0+Ball with a few dozens computers.note 176 In the days preceding the 0+Ball, computers were distributed and the software was installed on the AIDS ward of the Academic Medical Centre, in the bookshops Vrolik and Athenaeum and at the houses of several people living with HIV/AIDS, who were at home ill in Amsterdam. The software was sent out on floppy disks to the States by the postal service, where friends undertook the job of installing it in Simon Watson's Project Space, at the AIDS wards of Cornell Hospital in New York and General Hospital in San Francisco and in the Act Up and Act Now offices in San Francisco, as well as at the formal conference.