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CONCEPT: Present the flux of digital culture
in the networked environment of the Internet
as a two month exhibition at the List
Visual Arts Center at MIT.

November 1, 1996, Friday:
Remo and Rob refine the work flow schedule in order to organize their own thinking and to provide at least an outline of what is happening to the rest of the participants. Over the weekend Rob manages to bring it into sync with what Remo is thinking in terms of the physical infrastructure of the MIT site. Rob keeps saying the conceptual infrastructure is as important and the physical should flow from that. Remo is a sculptor and wants to work with materials. They agree on the name PORT for the exhibition, at least provisionally, because it has multiple connotations including portal (the original Kosuth window metaphor), to carry, to cross platforms, a place to dock.

White model is built, sketches done of possible physical sites.

Marek shows Rob and Adrianne what's new with VRML 2.0.

November 2, 1996, Saturday
Rob designs a logo that will work as navigation and symbol for the event. The form comes from earlier work concerning archaic architecture as well as discussions with Ebon Fisher about his Bionic Codes. The design needs work. L-Soft contacted about hosting listserv.

November 3, 1996, Sunday
Rob and Remo work on announcement/press release and get nowhere. The way in which the project is introduced is extremely important in order provide participants with the security to work with what is still unstable technology.

Discussions throughout the day in the storefront about the physical MIT space and about the vrml space during the vrml sig meeting. Ebon comes and organizes the group's thinking process and suggests that a "seed pod" be distributed as a connector between sites.

November 4, 1996, Monday
Announcement/Press Release brought into focus by Rob and Remo during lunch at Ray's Pizza. Remo refines ideas about physical space brought up at the meeting the night before and a simple, functional site starts to take form. It looks very much like the logo.

Exhibition announced to other members of DigiCult at the meeting that night in the storefront. DigiCult is the Foundation for Digital Culture and grew out of disatisfaction with the results of the last CyberSoho event and includes Plexus, Rhizome, Postmasters, ada'web, Floating Point Unit, Theoricon, The Thing and other groups concerned with digital art.

Adrianne feeds Rob homemade vegetable soup after the meeting.

November 6, 1996, Wednesday
The listserv is up and running. After a day or so of testing we will announce its availability with the press release and newsletter.
To subscribe send a message to: listserv@home.ease.lsoft.com
In the body of the message put:
SUBSCRIBE PORT-MIT@home.ease.lsoft.com yourname

Messages should be sent to:

We hope the listserv will be important not only as a moderated discussion group but also as a way of identifying individuals and groups who are involved in networked communications but might otherwise not be heard from. There is an archive at http://home.ease.lsoft.com/archives/port-mit.html
We will keep the archive going at this address as long as the exhibition continues and then move it to a permanent archive.

November 8, 1996, Friday
Rob is continuing to learn how to manage the listserv. Marek is working on Preliminary Plans for the MIT site. Remo is trying to secure the four projection systems we now feel are necessary for the project. The announcement will be going out by Monday along with the newsletter.

November 11, 1996, Monday
Marek makes a graphic index with a timeline. Rob makes a HotSauce version of the index and tries to explain why it's important to the project. Both can be found on PORT HOME. Remo tries to nail down the computers from the manufacturer. Rob and Remo go to MIT at the end of the week so the basic infrastructure has to be decided on. Potential participants are starting to appear. Neither the announcement nor the newsletter go out as planned. Tomorrow, for sure.

November 12, 1996, Tuesday
Remo meets with Joseph Nechvatal, who is in New York for a few weeks then going back to his home in Paris. JN is working on aspects of virtual reality as they pertain to avant garde art movements.

Remo, Rob and Marek meet to nail down the preliminary plan for the MIT space. Rob thinks they need to concentrate on what is to be presented and the best way to present it rather than designing the space and fitting the content in. They eventually go back to the original strategy of four screens and computer projectors as the starting point and using the walls to "picture" the Internet. Information about participants should be projected by slide projectors.

The newsletter goes out with a short announcement for PORT at the top.

Marek plays with using the PORT logo as a visualization of the Internet. See his image index.

November 14, 1996, Thursday
Remo and Rob take a Peter Pan bus (that's really the name of the bus line) from New York to Boston to meet with the List Center staff, see the space and work out technology specifics with the building staff. They arrive around 1:00, pick up sandwiches at the station and walk to the Wiesner Building -- which also houses the Media Lab -- where the Center is located. Remo did a residency there eight years ago and knows the way. Rob has been to Boston but never MIT and marvels at how clean and orderly MIT seems in the chaotic Cambridge, Mass. architectural environment.

Katy Kline, the Director, and her staff are gathered around the lunch table. Rob is greated as "Murph the Surf" by Jill, the registrar, and Toby, the financial person, because they read Museum-L where he is, according to them, a "cultural hero". Rob tries to live up to the title but fears he lacks kleos (a kind of immortality sought by the classical greek hero).

Curator Helaine Posner and Gallery Manager Jon Roll stop by to say hello and talk. They are busy preparing for the Joseph Kosuth exhibit that will run in the main gallery space (Jill Reynolds will be in the small gallery space across the lobby). Curatorial Assistant Jennifer Riddell, who is the Internet expert in the office, joins the group for lunch.

They talk details about PORT then use Toby's computer to look at the web site and vrml designs for the space. Her machine has to be reconfigured a bit but everything runs well and the staff seems impressed with what's been done. They enjoy flying through Marek's vrml spaces. Kevin Sawad Brooks from the Visible Language Workshop stops by and an attempt is made to set up a time to go up to his studio to look at what he's working on. Unfortunately time runs short and it doesn't happen this trip.

Remo and Rob go look at the gallery space where a Louise Bourgeois drawing show is currently up. Her huge bronze "spider" sculpture almost fills the Reference Gallery and the simple beauty of the installation makes it clear that the space doesn't need to be altered with much construction. Lighting and placement of the screens and equipment are the priority. The walls are fine the color they are and will work as a background to the planned graphics.

Joseph Grigely is in residence in the small gallery and Rob stops in to have a look. Grigely is deaf and uses written communication to explore language.

Remo and Rob take the train to Remo's parent's house in Providence, R.I. and spend the night watching Seinfeld and ER with his Mom, Hazel.

November 15, 1996, Friday
Early meeting with the bulding tech staff where details are worked out for connectivity in the gallery space. A separate, permanent wire will be run with plenty of bandwidth available, more than needed for the exhibition.

Arrangements are also made to meet with Media Lab faculty who may be interested in PORT at a later date. Remo makes it clear that we are not asking Lab people to help with the exhibition but inviting those who have projects that fit within the parameters to participate. This is a very important distinction many artists fail to understand and the reason the Media Lab is hesitant to work with artists from outside the Lab. Students have their own projects to concentrate on and the faculty would rather they not be distracted by requests to collaborate.

It's also became obvious that Remo will probably have to be in residence during the two months of the exhibition to make sure everything runs smoothly. Local people from outside MIT are also being contacted to see if they want to be involved in the day-to-day running of PORT. Housing for Remo during that time will have to be worked out that fits within the budget.

A few more details are discussed with Katy and Jon but everything looks very good. Everyone likes the direction things are going. Now the priority is to secure the equipment and identify the participants and help them realize their projects. Rob gets a free copy of the December WIRED (Nicholas Negroponte is an investor) and reads the Neal Stephenson article about wiring the world as he and Remo Peter Pan back to New York and watch "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman. Rob, who doesn't get out much but took Greyhounds cross-country in his youth is amazed that buses now show movies.

November 18, 1996, Monday
People start to ask for guidelines for proposals. Remo and Rob sit down and outline what they see as the basic groundrules for participation in the exhibition based on the technology, the budget and the the wish to foreground networking over forms of delivery such as CD-ROM, video tape, etc. PORT is one node in a network though for the duration of the exhibit it is a focus node, a "window of belief". Ideally the projects viewed on the screens at MIT will have been and will continue to be in existence. PORT is a node set up for a specific period of time to explore the possibilities of using the traditional exhibition format as a node, a point of access in the flow of digital culture. Whether this will prove workable will be one of the results of the exhibition.

November 25, 1996, Monday
Guidelines are distributed and proposals start to come in, mostly from people who understand what PORT is meant to present. Interest from the press also starts though HotWired sent a message asking for more details. It is evident that we are not presenting PORT in a clear enough form for potential participants to formulate proposals at this point. A calendar is created for the scheduling.

Jennifer from MIT posts a question on the listserv about the problem of time and asks if forms of working with/addressing issues connected with temporality will be adressed. Rob responds that he wants proposals that will work around and through the infrastructure. That may have to be encouraged in more direct communications with some of the potential participants.

Remo will be in residence through the entire exhibition at MIT and is starting to understand how the physical space represents "cyberspace" and is a form of emersiveness. Joseph Nechvatal, who has been writing about these issues, has promised to join the listserv as soon as he gets back to Paris.

Marek starts to work with the idea of visual "mappings" of the network. Rob wants leaves on the floor of the space in order to remind the visitor of the biological through the feet and senses of smell and hearing. The work of Ann Hamilton and Bruce Nauman and the writings of Susan Stewart and Henri Bergson have been mentioned on the listserv.

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