These questions can not be completely answered until we spend time working together in a KeyWorx space, while at the same time working through the Radiotopia material. I have spent two years working in collaborations using KeyWorx. Each exchange that I have considered ‘meaningful’ has developed as a result of the time invested in a connected environment, working together within a set of conditions or thematic focus. Our satisfaction has been a result of our commitment to the process and also a level of trust between all those involved. Universes built out of ideas can soon fall apart if the practice is not there. Like many other social spaces, intense times in closed quarters breed interesting results.

Following this train of thought, we feel our questions can not be answered until we work together, ‘being connected’. We'll start working together around the question, first between ourselves. We're thinking that each pair will first develop a personal approach towards the media. This practice will help us develop the rest of the project, connect the pieces.

Isabelle and I usually start a KeyWorx session by bringing in two keyboards and initiating a chat. While we talk we also build up what could be considered personal and elaborate communication spaces using live media that are combinations of live video, webcams from around the world, video streams and text.




Isabelle and I have been connecting together using KeyWorx. Isabelle is in New York. I'm in Amsterdam. We're friends. We like to work together. There is a conceptual synergy in our practice. We finish each other's sentences.

We're working towards a performance commissioned by the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival which we will present on March 1, 2003. We have been given the challenge to visualize the sound from Radiotopia, an elaborate, living archive of sound, input by artists from around the world using Keyworx. I've been asked to be one of the key facilitors towards the event. There will be six KeyWorx performers in total working on this project. Three artists in New York with be connected using KeyWorx with three artists in Rotterdam, three translocally linked pairs, three simultaneous and connected performances.

In an effort to understand how to work with Radiotopia material and with ourselves, we start with the following questions:

1. What is the nature of the exchange between the two performers connected together over a network?
2. How is each physical space networked? What is the relationship between the three performers in each space?
3. How can the audience enter into this environment?
4. How can the audio and visual environments be connected in a meaningful way?
Isabelle responds. "Something meaningful...yes, that would be good. Without being too much "in your face". I find that hard sometimes when working with images only, they are signs after all, either ambiguous or clear. It might be interesting to use the Webcrawler module. I did it the other night and had great fun. Just type in "war" for example and you get some amazing stuff flying past. So, this could be an option (and we could come up with some more specific keywords). And, as always, make it clear that this is a _collective_environment, that what ppl see is not the expression of one dictators lone vision but the outcome of a shared creation process! Isn't that already quite amazing especially these days when we are confronted with the "I do it and I do it alone" of our monkey leader!?! SHARE is a sign of HOPE in a social structure that is based on competition and personal ambition!!! In New York, everybody again and again tells me, that's what rules here!
For us, it's a personal way to connect, allowing for perhaps more emotion and content. It enables us to combine casual chat exchanges, with more focused artistic expressions within the same virtual space. I am comfortable with this hybridity. I am more comfortable with this ambiguous state than the ritual of taking an image or a bit of video and processing it to the point of abstraction. It looks all the same to me. The fact that two or more people are working together on the same KeyWorx patch isn't relevant to the 'public' witnessing the visual output. But this is my dilemna working with a software that is somewhere between a chat/teleconferencing and vj tool.

How do we translate an intimate connection between two or more people into a public performance?

I write Isabelle an email suggesting that our exchange should be very simple and clear in terms of what the interaction is. The beauty of the connection is through the conversation, through text and image.
Lodewijk Loos, one or the programmers for KeyWorx been working on a webcrawler module. Typing in words using a live keyboard calls up images from a Google database.

We start by patching in our chat into the webcrawler and see what images come up through the process of our conversation. Gradually we move to a question and answer exercise, where we take turns interviewing each other. We work for three hours, before we realize we have forgotten to document the process.

A day later Isabelle sends me an email suggesting that we try a word association game to help develop our affinity with the new webcrawler. The game is simple. When she types a word, I respond by typing an associative word and vice versa. She sends me a gameboard template in the mail.
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FEB 5, 2003

 
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