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Words on Works are short, i n f m l statementsabout lzeu artw0dt.sin which art and technology coexist a r m q e . In the sparit o f Leonardo, the i n f m t i o n in Words on Works is what the artists themselveshave chosen to say about their own work. In some o f t b e statemats, ratherthan describing the work in &ail, the artistsusenontraditional languagethat echoes the work itself and is expressive of their vision. 4introducingartists whose work might not othmuise appearon thepages of Leonardo, Words on Works operates in the same way that altanative art spaces qerate in thegal*-museum milieu. HALL OFWHISPERS: AVIRTUAL OPERA BrianAndreas, 2972 Otis St., Berkeley, CA94703, U.S.A. E-mail: Hall of Whispers(Fig. 1)is a worldwide interactive artwork that I coordinated in conjunction withJohn F. Kennedy University,Graduate School of Arts and Consciousness,Orinda, California, U.S.A. Hall of Whispe7stakes its name from an ancient Babylonian myth of a speciallyconstructed room in one of the ziggurats (stepped pyramids)where a whisperwould stay alive forever. I have an image of the electronic networks whispering ceaselessly with the voices of our times. simple. I wanted to create a situation where a group of people could share the experience of living, where we couldjoin each other around a technological campfire, for the profoundly human act of storytelling. Participantswere asked for two items. First was the text, whether story, observation , or poem. Thiswas the ’tuhisper.” Secondwas the “theme.”By theme, I meant a simpledistillation of what this story/observation/poem meant to the participant. Each person chose their own theme for their text. Once it entered the Hall ofwhispers, other p e e The form of the project is deceptively SectionEditm:Judy Ma14 ple could assign it other themes, or connect it with a story of their own, or with one of the many stories already sent in from around the world. Meaningwas no longer individual and sacrosanct,but communal. Someonefaxes in a storyabout the time they were followed by a horde of wasps when they spilled tropicalfruit punch on themselves at a family picnic in Iowa. Someone else writes that every Fridaynight when they get o f fwork, they get caught in the traftic of hundreds of high school kids cruisingdown the one street of their Alabama town. And someone else e-mails in that the week before Carnival in Rio,her Eami buys everythingthey’ll need, as if they’re preparing for a hurricane; she says it’s much like returning to primitive times.And all three storiesare connected by a larger theme of Natural Disasters. Hall of Wispershas two stages.In the first stage, storieswere circulated between participantson the electronic Fig. 1. BrianAndreas, screendump from H a l lo f Whispers: A YirhUJ Opers 19944993.This collabomtivelyhttennarrative simulatesmythologicalBabylo& ziggurat roomswhere whispetrr were v e n t residents. SmallTown Life Lin%:Natural Disasters We have onemain street,and most nights of the week, they roll up the sidewalks right at five o’clock. The business district’s about four or five blocks long, and then it’s just blacktop on out to the highway. My favorite nights are when the air smell8 l i k ejaemine and fresh-baked banana cream from the pie shop, and time seemsto stand still. Except on Friday nights. That’s when they have bands out at the ballroom, and everyhigh schoolkid in the county comesi n t o town. Cars going both ways, with ten kids to a car, all of them hanging out the window. Radios blaring. Engines rumbling. And everyone yelling at everyone else. I tell myself I’ve got to remember to walk to work on Fridays, because when I come out of work, there’snothing to be done but get in the long line of cars and i n c hmy way home. I grew up in a different part of the country, near Phoenix, but the rituals were the same. Cruising the streets on Friday and Saturday nights. I never had a car until after college, 80 my girlsrends and I would walk and hope we’d get a ride fromone of our other friendswhose parents...


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