Orchestrating contributions and audiences

Throughout the months of May and June many commitments were met: raising the funds from the ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences OCW, getting Apple Computer involved, designing and programming and organizing the network, inviting people to participate in the workshops and debates, inviting artists to contribute and ensuring that artwork came to Amsterdam for Paradiso.note 181 Eric Hamwijk from ACT UP Amsterdam who was concerned about the cultural programme "because AIDS benefits are not very popular and we need to involve more people so that they bring their friends as well" (note in Personal Folder, Before 1st of May, 1990).

We had many conversations with people who wanted to contribute by organizing a specific activity for their own group in Paradiso as part of the 0+Ball and indeed they brought their own audiences as well. Two bookshops, Perdu and Vrolijk, organized the reading of 1001 night tales continuously over the 69 hours. The Buddy league provided a special buddies lunch. The Mozeshuis, the meeting point for family and friends with HIV or AIDS, organized a special workshop. The Schorerstichting presented the Dutch translation of 'Policing Desire' written by Simon Watney at the 0+Ball and invited their network to attend. The HIV Vereniging provided the quilts that were present.note 182 The many performing artists, (singers, theatre performers, dancers, musicians) brought their theatre plays, concerts and choreographies, which also generated audiences.note 183 Jan Dietvorst designed the poster and other publicity material. The poster, a golden circle against a background of Yves Klein Blue expressed the dignity of the effort of so many people in dealing with HIV and AIDS. It was distributed in Amsterdam and to specific places beyond. The Dutch photographer Han Singels agreed to photograph the 0+Ball.

As was elaborated upon in the methodology of Paradiso, organising events includes the creation of audiences. It may be clear from the narrative above that this is not a 'marketing' exercise as such. It is the content that drives the production as well as the approach to possible audiences. People have to be capable of making it 'their' event, making it 'their' place. Because we integrated a variety of audiences the place became rich and complex, which ultimately created the 'added value' that Heleen Riper referred to in her comments.

As the producer/director one has to be careful to honour all contributions, and at the same time make sure professional quality is maintained. My way of handling this has been twofold. The preferable strategy is that I make as much space available as possible for people to do their own thing in the context of the show and involve more people to tackle possible flaws. The other strategy has been to position myself as the director at Paradiso in a very clear, sometimes even authoritarian way. The latter strategy has not always been pleasant for me personally, but it has prevented people dumping on each other. When creating projects like this, a good atmosphere in the team is crucial since most people collaborate in their own time and are not willing and cannot handle too much interpersonal noise. People want to be seen, and have their presence acknowledged. The confirmation of presence because one is 'seen' by another person and his, or her, contribution appreciated, is crucial for a smooth functioning collaboration. When collaborating via mediated presence, this confirmation of presence and effort by the other person appears to be crucial as well. One of the reasons for the success of INTERDOC, for example, was its carefully developed structure for collaborating online by organizing regular meetings in real life to support the online collaborations (personal communication with Patrice Riemens and Michael Polman).note 184