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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October - 4 December, 1998

[as of December 1st 1998 the forum has been prolonged - ... open-ended]

Subject:Re: dialogues in and out the net
Date:Tue, 01 Dec 1998 21:32
Author:Pedro Meyer  []

I found the observations by Ricardo, absolutely to the point and very well stated, brilliant. However I could add one dimension that is not developed yet in his observations. Take for instance my personal experience within this - as well as other- forums.

I arrive at a "place" where I do not know who is on the other side of the line, who it is that I am actually corresponding with. Under those circumstances, I feel that the courteous thing to do is to introduce myself. What else to do? That obviously requires that I write about myself and what I do and what my interests are, and so on. How else to expect that others know what I could or would be interested in, so that one could discuss the topics open to debate. So why do I start from the "I", is it necessarily a narcisstic approach?. I don't think so. I equate it with extending a welcome and my hand, I open myself to your knowledge of me, as a form of invitation to enter into a dialogue. The more you know about me, the more fulfilling can a potential dialogue be. By all doing this, you can pick up from others what you want to discuss, who it is that you respond to. (For instance my present response to Ricardo). Aha! but then why does this not happen on a regular basis? that of responding to others. And here is a key, as I see it, to this issue.

In a real life situation, such back and forth dialogues, take a few instants to develop, and in this format (cyberspace) this is something that can only evolve over time. We need time, lots of it, in order to generate such dialogues that are mutual, reciprocal and multidimensional (in so far as there are many that are involved). For me to respond to others, either I do it at that moment, when I read the letter, similar to impulse buying at the check out counter at the supermarket, or I take out the time to read the files in the folder of all those who wrote, and what it is that I can say to one or the other. The process is far from simple, in a life with a crowded schedule as I am sure you all must have.

So in the end, it all comes down to taking very seriously what Ricardo suggests with regard to responding to others, as I am quite convinced that there is a LOT going on of what he writes about, the interest for the "other" has to expand, but we have to also make allowances for the TIME issue and how "relations" can develop within this new format, so that indeed the excercise does not become one of every one just quoting themselves into the infinite.

As this is coming towards an end, unfortunately we will not have the needed time for this to happen this time, but maybe in a next occasion this might happen.

I wish all of you the best for the coming Holidays, and for a prosperous New Year... may our experiences on the net serve to keep us alert to all that is going on around the world in ways never ever dreamed off before.

All best
Pedro Meyer
Mexico City, Coyoacan.


on 12/1/98 11:09 AM Ricardo Basbaum wrote:

What kind of psychology is transmitted through this limited type of interaction? It is not difficult to see that the majority of the messages concentrate on describing oneself, in a self-statement with presentation purposes. Should we speak of a kind of narcisism? In fact, what makes this interaction so pleasureable for everybody is the feeling for a wide and open space where we can attach ourselves, feeling free to express what we do, who we are, what are our believes, etc. So, is the internet a place where to expand individuality? Is it a place to develop one's interior self with a never-seen-before space to expand into? Sure we cannot talk anymore about the "old" interiority, the one which was strongly attacked by Marcel Duchamp, followed by John Cage, Jasper Johns and the Minimalists: that's the old conception of the self seen as an untouchable and not-changeable space, product of XIX century bourgeoisie, through the notion of "honour" and "character".

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