back online (2)

Scott deLahunta (
Tue, 02 Sep 1997 09:45:13 +0200

Hopefully, this message will not be sent twice to the list -- if you receive
another email with the same subject header minus the (2), then you can
delete one of these. This was written Sunday morning...

I'm back on-line, the stolen computers have been replaced and backups
restored. Too bad to hear about the Hellerau art colony Johannes. Of course,
the worse thing about computers being stolen is the 'loss of memory' which
represents maybe 2-3 years of work (without a backup this can be disaster
for some). Some theives may be going after the memory itself (industrial
espionage) -- but in my case it was the hardware.

Thanks, Diana, for your response to the issue of collaboration between
'dancers' and 'technicians' (I hope the single quotes convey my distrust of
the categories). I look forward very much to seeing the written report on
your insider's experience with Stephan's project. I wonder if anyone will be
writing something in-depth as an observer about the project (both its
on-line and off-line manifestations)? I see the list on Stephan's
contributor page has grown to more or less 120 individuals. From this list
page itself, there is no telling what amount of effort was made, the quality
of each contribution (one can choose to see some selected recent bits) or
any idea at all about how it will manifest on 17 September (you can read
about this elsewhere on the site). But there is this list which sits there,
glowing from the light behind coming from behind it. What sort of community
does this list represent? How diverse, how coherent? etc. A while back I
wrote that Stephan's site gives a sense of feedback for one's contribution,
which it does, but as the list inevitably grows, what happens to my imagined
contribution (as imagined it can only be) as the list number grows from 30
to 100 to 200 to more. What becomes of the 'importance' of my contibution,
does it recede as just the number of contributions creates an information
management issue where I begin to slip into increasingly larger and more
general categories. Or do I get lost in the increasingly random selection
efforts which will be utilized by an overworked and overwhelmed team of
artists who are actually, physically, bringing the project to fruition on 17
September. What happens when information reaches a critical mass where
different strategies for information management have to be deployed? What is
the impact on the artistic project? Lots of questions on only one aspect of
the project, and it will be great if Diana and others can write about it.

Speaking of communities of information (for that is what we all here are
essentially) -- I will move on to comment on nik's on-line database for
dancers and the bantaba reference. I think we should be careful here, how we
use the idea of community. I, personally, am increasingly challenged (and
confused) by the idea of net communities and I have problems with
unreflexively borrowing a term from the Mandinka which seems to relate so
clearly to a smaller community made up primarily of somaticized corporeal
entities -- not abstract data frameworks. This is not to say that your
project isn't of potentially great interest or usefullness to the dance
community nik -- in fact I'm not really feedbacking on your project per se
here at all. Just problematizing these notions of 'community' which get
tossed around a bit.

I have found the conversations between Amanda, Johannes and others re:
unstructured jams and open rehearsals stimulating and find Johannes's
reflection on his workshop experience in Dresden especially interesting for
the way it opens up critical discussions of the terms which we are employing
and the situations which we find ourselves working in. Parallel processing
instead of shared dramaturgy, incomplete processes leading more towards
installation like presentation, short intensive working sessions, multiple
digitial possibilities for manifestation, the collisions between 2-d and 3-d
spaces for representations, etc. In his short report, Johannes lays out many
of the most important theoretical and practical problems which face those of
us trying to work, think and play as performance makers in this field.

AND I have to say, finally, that these issues are raised in a more
interesting way here in Johannes's email than in 90% of the now famous
Ballet International/ Tanz Aktuell 'dance and technology' August issue...

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