AS A BASIC TENET OF EXISTENCE, I intentionally seek to inhabit all spaces that I
encounter as personal spaces of genuine dialogue and interaction -- humane intervention
based in a mutual recognition and engagement of the Other.
I have always approached technology from a passively critical point-of-view. As the
son of a technology analyst and forecaster, technology was introduced into my life
from the very beginning of awareness. Machines were not only a means of control and
extension of control but also of remote sensing -- an extension of the sensual
capabilities of the organic body. From guns to telescopes, TV, walkie-talkies, HAM
and short-wave radios, cameras, and early on, in the late 1960's, the networked
computer terminal that I first experienced at my fathers office -- the Office of
Technology Assessment. At home, I was surrounded with the glory of technology as
expressed in popular literature, scientific journals, and in practice. The future
was the future of Science and Technology. I later studied engineering, specializing
in terrestrial remote sensing using electro-magnetics, gravity, and magnetics
techniques. To sense what cannot be seen.
The failure of this technological existence was not the imperfection of present form,
but a lack of content. Dialogue was always a possibility but did not often happen.
There was always the monologue of television and radio, but I needed more.
As a family, we moved several times -- in the service of the Military-Industrial
complex. Since I left home 20 years ago, I have relocated more than 30 times.
Sustaining contact-in-absence and in presence became a daily issue. I learned the
Morse code system in order to communicate by radio. I collected stamps like many
children do. I dreamed of these far-off places depicted in strange forms and
languages. I wrote letters to others both known and unknown. Part of me existed
in the virtual and suspended ether of waiting for an answer. I moved, wrote to
old friends, made new friends, moved away, wrote to them -- always wrote letters,
sent images, and began to understand the essentials of tele-presence. I linked
people through writing and visiting and telephoning. I carried stories as
travelers do. I discovered there was a name for this type of activity --
Networking. I was/am a networker by nature and need. I extend that nature into
whatever medium is available to me including, but not limited to the Internet.
By carrying on what Martin Buber classifies as "genuine dialogue" through the
affirmation of the Other, there can be a mediation of conflict between humans.
Re-evolution is not a solution but rather a constant state-of-being defined
externally by dialogue.
I have no illusions of a dialectic Utopia spawned by AT&T and MCI and DeutscheTelekom.
I look on any material intervention of expression in the same way -- as corruptible
conditions impressed upon spiritual existence -- an existence tempered and tested by
physical be-ing. I simply make use of what material transformations are available
to me by virtue of my life-experience. At the moment, I find it possible to inhabit
the space of the Internet humanely and personally -- not as a territory within which
to impose the will, but a space of personal cohabitation and dialogue. If, in the
future, that becomes impossible, I will no longer use the medium.
Suomenlinna, 22 September 1996