Re: Zapp project/Scenario

Scott deLahunta (
Sun, 20 Apr 1997 11:46:00 +0200

Hello everyone -- I've been off for a bit working on other things. For those
of you who have sent me texts to put on the D&TZ... Johannes, Paul, Sally
Jane, etc., I will be getting to them soon.

Firstly, this short note: the funding for the telematic project I was hoping
to do here has not come through, so we are looking to do it during the
festival next year. I want to thank everyone for the discussion though as it
gave me plenty to consider for when I do manage to get it to happen.

I've just taken a look at Andrea Zapp's project which Lisa and Amanda have
threaded onto this list. Looking at Andrea's site and considering Lisa's
comments on her upcoming web performances... I am ruminating on the
following. I did some research last year on 'virtual universities' and
'cyberschools' and found that there were many projects on the net which had
been launched and then discontinued. Like ghost towns, these sites usually
had a lot of information on them, but lacked the presence of people. Where
had everyone gone? Had anyone been there to begin with?

Andrea's project is: hosted by the Virtual College a pilot project for
online research and teaching founded in 1996 by several universities in the
region Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany. I imagine that her site is going to be
populated by students who are on various courses which are either based on
the project or linked to it in some way. I suppose Lisa's will also involve
the active participation of student bodies in different locations. Both of
these projects may be very successful for a limited period of time, after
which they will become empty and uninhabited.

I am slightly bothered by the sense of un-inhabitation on the net. What
happens when the net becomes primarily an archive of past or imagined
interactivity? Currently, all the metaphors point towards an ongoing lived
in space... and indeed the goal of this discussion list is to give such a
sense of community, of involvement, dialogue, etc. But, even as Andrea
launches a new project to utilize the net in this way -- I feel something is
dying... is it an accumulation of the energy of the non-present -- that what
we all imagine to be the presence of our distributed selves and of our
networked and multiple identities, in the end turns out to be... ?

All discussions of presence/ absence relate to dancers... but what about
discussions of pattern/ randomness which is posited by Katherine Hayles to
be the 'new' dialetic which follows presence/ absence. Johannes was saying
several posts ago that he had trouble seeing the dancer as information
(something like that), Richard countered. Whether we are being transformed
into databodies or not, I think we are in a radical move at this very moment
away from the dancing body (that of duncan/ wigman) of the 20th century... I
see it in my students. But towards what? I'm waiting to find out...

Incidently, for those interested in hypertexts and electronic literacies
relative to computer mediated communications check out Nancy Kaplan's article:
Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558