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Art using the Internet

In 1989 I joined the internet community to work with the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Project. My first project was to travel to the Stein Valley Festival with my friend Lynn Rutherford and her Japanese friend. They had arranged to have a table at the festival to provide a place for the Japanese lady to give out origami cranes that she folded as she sat, and to talk about peace. I saw an opportunity to organize a computer project. My self-imposed task was to gather messages written by festival goers that would be sent to a site in Japan. Messages were either dictated to me to type or typed directly into my IBM laptop computer. Few people had even heard of the internet, but I explained that the messages could be read by people around the world with connected computers, particularly those people participating in this peace project. After I returned home I uploaded the messages to a peacenet (usenet style posting forum) and received many encouraging comments from Japanese readers and others from around the world who read my Stein Valley Peace Messages post. This was my first experiment with social networking, international internet communications and using the internet as an artistic media.

Fast forward to 2007, almost twenty years later and my computer equipment is considerably more advanced and the use of the internet is widespread. Social networking is no longer confined to typing messages on a monochromatic screen to be uploaded later. I have translation tools installed, so viewers do not have to speak the same language that I do to read what I write (click on one of the flags in the upper left corner of the left sidebar). Now I plan to be able to collect messages using an audio/video medium and stream them in real time to viewers all over the world. My message is still related to peace, but I believe that the changes caused by global warming could lead to a scarcity of resources that would encourage conflict. Therefore, I am narrowing my focus to the issue of global warming and the preservation of the environment in general.

The message that we can all “Live More Lightly” must be delivered in an encouraging, supportive environment so that individuals and groups can feel positive about their actions. I am organizing the singing workshops to share support and ideas without blaming people for not making environmentally friendly choices in the past.

I intend to use technology to reach out from my journey and show the people of this connected planet the beauty of the real time environment to offer inspiration and hope. People need to be inspired to make that extra effort to do environmentally friendly things because there is so much waste and destruction all around us. How much do I have to re-use or re-cycle to offset the entire house that is being torn down next door and thrown in the landfill? It can be discouraging.

This journey represents what I can do, with my skill set and physical limitations, to communicate through a multi-media environment. I want to show there is something worth saving and offer support and a forum for ideas on what can be done to save it.

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