Connecting time

'Connecting time' is an issue in all three emails. The first Hans was too ill to log on one day, and was capable of logging on the next day. In the AMC the connection itself did not work for two hours and this was immediately noticed. In the third email the people with AIDS were too ill to log on, the staff too busy, but the night shift would have the time to pass the messages on. The fact that a network is available 24 hours a day was new to many people at the time. In the case of the 0+Network this was appreciated very much since people do not always feel well enough and capable of connecting all the time. The fact that a network can 'adapt' to personal time zones was, at the time and still, one of the great advantages of this kind of sharing of information. In mediated presence some elements of being alive are mediated and some are absent. By devoting attention (and through a process of attribution and the functioning of media schemata), the mediated presence becomes a full experience. Certain elements of natural presence that are not mediated may be missed, but mediated presence helps to surpass boundaries of time and place and that makes it so attractive.

In making the 0+Network we wanted to add quality to the natural presence of people whose natural presence had become limited. As the Hans in the first email communicates, one can not leave the house or even the bed, but one can log on and communicate with significant other people who are present in other places and in doing so one is less isolated. Also, because mediated presence only transmits a part of natural presence, one does not have to 'face' people when not feeling well. However, to be able to log on one needs a certain amount of energy. When feeling ill, perception changes and attention is needed for the body. To enter mediated presence one needs energy to be able to operate the machine and to be psychologically capable of cognitively and emotionally receiving and translating the mediated presence. Mediated presence does not adapt. It is fixed in a certain format like a screen or a loudspeaker and the use of buttons.note 196 Also the interaction between natural presence and mediated presence can be very problematic because mediated presence is designed and dictated by predetermined information flows, which cannot transcend the borders of their pre-programmed format. Because having attention is a requirement for mediated presence to function, it requires energy to be able to undertake.

At the time we were happy that it was appreciated. It took effort and dedication to build it, it was something that had not been done before and it worked. When Hans Bronkhorst and Rop Gonggrijp went to pick up the computers to return them to Apple Computer after the 0+Ball they returned to Paradiso rather upset. People were sad and angry that they had to return the computers and that the network had gone down and that they would not be able to connect again. At that moment I realised that we, and especially the network designers, organizers and operators had really achieved something. The experience of being connected and then losing the connectivity did not feel right to people. It had proven to be of value. It would still take a few years before networks were available cheaply and easily via the Internet. In 1991 Matthew Lewis, Tjerk Zweers and others formally founded HIVnet. HIVnet has been the formal site of the HIV Vereniging since 1999 (van Hooijdonk 2002, Polman & van de Pouwkraan 1995).