John Hopkins on Tue, 31 Dec 96 08:49 MET

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nettime: Eight Dialogues

Hallo friends,

This is a broadcast message to enLighten you about a project of mine that
was selected for inclusion in an online/gallery exhibition which will take
place on the Internet and within the confines of the List Art Center
Gallery at MIT in Boston between January 29  and March 29.

(FYI, the public site for the whole project --

At the moment I am interested in gathering eight of you as participants
(significant *Others*) in one of these dialogues via the internet
technology "IRC", the infamous chat lines...  Where we can have a two hour
(or less) text-based dialogue remotely via our keyboards...

Each of the eight dialogues will be taking place (as scheduled at the
moment) one a week between 2-4 pm EST (New York Time) on a Wednesday
afternoon for the duration of the show...  For those of you who are not
familiar with IRC technology, if you have internet/WWW access, then you can
run an IRC host on your local machine.  There are even some Browser-based
chat locations that can be used with no extra software -- just Netscape or
Explorer...  Anyway, I hope to hear from eight of you (or more! -- probably
should have some alternates...)  Again, these dialogues are not thematic or
otherwise "directed", they are *just* dialogues...

These dialogues, or the text thereof would be fed live to the gallery where
gallery participants could follow them.  In a sense not private at all, but
that is the challenge and the crux...  (can *real* dialogue happen under
these circumstances? what IS real dialogue?)

Any questions?  I can help those of you who might be facing technological
challenges (to some degree)..., we have about three weeks before things
have to be in place and scheduled...  First come first serve!  Contact me
soon if you are interested and can get access to IRC technology...

Following is basic information about the project and its ideological

Title of Project: Eight Dialogues


In this project I will be scheduling a series of eight two-hour dialogues
with a variety of people (to be arranged) with whom I have either an
intimate personal and/or professional relationship with, or with whom I
would find the possibility of establishing a new dialogue.  This Dialogue
will be presented as both form and content on the projection screens.

The project will utilize one of the most basic technology for interaction
available on the net -- that is, live text-mediated IRC.  This is an
ideological choice based on two factors:

1)      As a marginal participant in institutionalized art culture, (being
either under-employed or unemployed for much of the preceding 20 months) I
have limited access to stable connections and higher-band-width
technologies.  Depending on my location (which is not determined at the
moment), I will be making my connections either from a local dial-up on a
Mac Powerbook, or via high-speed networked connections.

2)      The vast majority of what is, itself, a minuscule world-minority of
On-line People has low-bandwidth dial-up access and I would limit the
expression and mediation in my project to means that invite the greatest

Mediation introduces an overwhelming oppositional force to the power of
face-to-face contact primarily through the element of Loss.  Loss of the
sensual Presence that informs a dialogue can diminish the energy flow
inherent in this essential human activity.  Mediated communication is
easiest at the more practical level of provision of information.  The more
mediation, the greater the probability that information is the goal rather
than substantial and genuine dialogue.  By pressing technology into service
of this activism, I would formally seek to explore the limitations and
mediations that technology applies.  Content, however, will not be limited
to any particular subjective parameters, but rather will be spontaneous and
will spring from the richness of presence (-in-absence) and the infinite
possibilities of personal connection.

Participation by the 'audience', both virtual and real is a complex issue
that will be dealt with depending on the contingencies of the moment.  It
can be a negative or positive intrusion into the intimacy of a bipolar
dialectic, and so, cannot be mapped before-hand.  There is always the
possibility of intrusion with the largely public domain of the Internet...

As a basic tenet of existence and as an artist, I intentionally seek to
inhabit all spaces that I encounter as personal spaces of genuine dialogue
and interaction -- where humane interaction based in a mutual recognition
and engagement of the Other might take place.

The following is an essay introducing documentation of an earlier
networking project -- a photocopy/post-art collaboration that I edited with
contributions from 100 artists:

"The way that Art is defined, created, and shared is a temporal and
cultural reality.  This cultural reality must be constantly confronted and
critically examined so that both the culture and Art might evolve.  By
bringing our critical Life energies into productive, honest, and consistent
Dialogue with the members of our community, we act as catalysts for
cultural change and (r)evolution.  Through this open contact we must take
responsibility for both our human rights and human obligations.

Dialogue causes important spatial and temporal genesis in the Language of
Art -- it is a revolutionary Art itself when in critical juxtaposition to
silence.  Dialogue, as pure expression of heart and soul, is the core of
all meaningful activism.  Even as the literal and visual icons of culture
carry dynamic social values, so Dialogue actively carries and transmits the
social consciousness.  Dialogue is critical at all times.  Dialogue is
historic in that word and meaning change in the time and space of ideology
-- Dialogue is ahistoric in that each coming day brings a new imperative
for communication.

For Dialogue to operate freely within all subjects and modes in our
community, we must provide some physical and/or intellectual and/or
spiritual space for it to exist within.  As humans, we must seek to create
a community space wherein anyone might freely propose subjects for humane
Dialogue as well as begin that Dialogue."


John Hopkins  email: <> WEB: <>
        *From Granite Mountain Observatory, Prescott, Arizona*

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