Designing the environment

People who entered Paradiso were already making a statement by entering the building. This was made clear by a huge banner attached to the front of Paradiso, facing one of Amsterdam's grand streets and one of its nightlife areas. The banner was made by Gran Fury , an artists' collective from New York, and carried the text "All people with AIDS are Innocent". Condoms were placed on the characteristic Amsterdam street bollards that surround Paradiso, which are called the "Amsterdammertjes".

Jaap de Jonge, a Dutch artist, made a video chandelier inside the wardrobe of Paradiso, through which one had access to all the auditoria. The main Hall was decorated by Floris Vos, who was the set dresser for Peter Greenaway at the time, and who was allowed to use the props of Greenaway's films for decorating Paradiso. With many colours, feathers, canapŽs, comfortable chairs, lamps of all sorts and a dozen beds and more, Floris Vos gave the main Hall of Paradiso and its balconies a 'cosy' and 'camp' feeling. In the middle of this entourage, different podia were set up for the performing artists, a big screen in front of the podium could be lowered when showing films and computers were available in different locations to log on to the 0+Network. Good food could also be obtained 24 hours a day. The small auditorium of Paradiso was used as a podium and as a place for workshops. In the cellar, Nan Hoover had made a special room in which a light installation was placed, using the light of slide projectors and the shadows of visitors, which would change at a slow pace. In the smallest dressing room, the 1001 night tales were read in a decor of red plush. The edit group occupied another dressing room and the server and programmers also used a dressing room. The office of Paradiso's director had been transformed into a small theatre, which could host about 30 guests per theatre performance (every performance was played several times). Other dressing rooms, and the rest of the cellar, were used for workshops. Some workshops also took place on the balconies.

Many of the participants had confronted death and dying: people were ill from AIDS, people were infected by HIV and felt the public condemnation, people were taking 'buddy' care of friends who were very ill -, people had lost friends they loved or were busy trying to find out how to live with AIDS. The search for new meanings, this formulating and displaying of new celebrations of life, this vibrant energy that also contains anger and frustration, made the gathering very unique. In the variety of debates, workshops and performances different perspectives on the HIV/AIDS crisis were offered: political, spiritual, medical and personal.