Memories and Lags

Scott deLahunta (
Mon, 04 May 1998 08:59:52 +0200

For those looking for the Proceedings for the Dance and Tech Conferences: in
the first in the 'media archaeology' thread it was posted out that you can
order a hardcopy of the Proceedings from 1 and 3 from the National Resource
Centre for Dance (

Looking for History: Three recent, parallel but separate threads on the list
all 'looking for history'. One has been *looking back* on dance/ film with
suggestions such as Douglas Rosenberg's of the 'foreshadowing' of this
relationship in the work of Eadward Muybridge. Another thread is in process
of 'reminding' us of previous 'dance and technology' conferences... with an
acknowledgement that individuals/ organisations have made significant
contributions. Another began by drawing on the recognition of methodological
interrelationships between algorithms and dance/ bodies -- and included the
reference (by Susan Kozel) to Hubert Godard's notion of *feed-forward* being
at work in our physical engagement with technologies.

End(s) of History: History feels much closer in Europe -- one can't imagine
Francis Fukuyama's controversial 1992 essay being written here. It's not
that there wasn't debate as regards the essay in the US. It was roundly
accused in the states as, for example, being "a celebration of the "new
world order proclaimed by George Bush at the time of the Gulf War" (Milton
Fisk). Europe is just an interesting and obvious *place* to live and to
consider, with others, the implications of the 'hype' and 'rush to the new'
that is so indicative of trajectories promoted by USA based organisations
and companies. Nettime ( is a mailing
list and a 'movement' which frequently engages in an explicit critique of
the 'california ideologies' promoting the spread of 'new media' (e.g. during
'next five minutes' conference in Amsterdam in 1995)

"The answer to speed is more speed": I don't know where this phrase came
from exactly, I would suppose Paul Virilio -- but I've never found it the
exact quote in his work, although I am far from a Virilio 'expert'. But, I
suppose this whole business of the 'new technologies' is pushing us forward
into a strange new world of collectivized memories enshrined in the mass
process of 'information storage and retrieval'. There are funny indicators
of our desire 'not to forget' in little places like the International Herald
Tribune including a small column every day entitled "In Our Pages: 100, 75
and 50 years ago". Go to V2's site ( and you get a pop-up
window which does the same thing. Not exactly in-depth or reflected upon,
but are these markers of our desires to remember? Maybe to slow down?

Slowing down: Lag Aesthetics (Susan Kozel). There have been several 'Dance
and Technology' projects involving the use of 'telematics' like CUSEEME and
ISDN Picturetel. Amanda Stegell, Lisa Naugle, Susan Kozel -- and something I
cam across the other day, Most
telematic projects to date involve this 'lag' (a few seconds with ISND --
much more with CuSeeme, especially when using regular telephone lines and a
reflector site). This waiting for the image to appear -- this moment in real
time which 'rushing forward' technology (more bandwidth for all) has still
not caught up with. The technology claims that it will eventually catch up
and wipe out this lag so that our telematic images come through at the same
rate as CNN satellite uplinks. Perfection will be achieved. The 'lag' that
still reminds us of the distance, the geographical space across which our
images travel... will be gone.


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