From Web to Print

Contact Quarterly 2006English
Contact Quarterly Vol. 31 No. 1 (Winter/Spring, 2006): 3.

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For a time, magazine-making was an antidote to the "now you see it, now you don't" of performing. Holding an object in my hands at the end of an intense collaborative effort gave a startling satisfaction. The relatively passive processes of gathering, of staking out (our mailbox), and a friendly sort of people-trapping (keeping an eye out to rein in adventurous movers, ask them to write) were also a counterbalance to the edginess of dancemaking.

I've been itching to bring this edginess into publishing writings by dancers for some time now. Why not invert my strategy and hunt down the goods? Where? My attention shifts to what all print-journal makers keep our wary eyes on: the Web. For this, experienced co-piloting seemed essential. Enter: Melinda.

The invitation to enter the Web is implicit. So is the idea that the stuff's up for grabs. The certainty that we'd find treasures there, primed to be immortalized, dared us to come and get it.

Once past the off-putting image of millions of people baring the inside of their heads, I was struck by the Internet's likeness to live performance. The site before your eyes is unabashedly personal in a public space. You, alone with your eyes (on the screen) and your hand (on the mouse), interact with your imagination, anonymous as in a darkened theater.

Like recognizing a movement that feels intriguing in your body, within the stream of our search we knew what grabbed us. And some of what we found we offer in this issue AS IS (ok, with a few tweaks of punctuation here and there).

It was amusing to discover that the Web has a memory much like ours: transient, tangled, mutable, and migratory. At the moment you find something, it has an address (called a U-R-L) that you can return to soon after. But pages disappear, sometimes to be found nesting somewhere else within the same site or unapologetically discarded by their source. However, disappearances can be deceiving. Any page is apt to pop up far far away, having been replicated by countless borrowers or thieves, who's to say? We've noted the URL where we found each article, aware that some may be gone by the time you read this. Hence, our mission: to bring the Web, or once-Web, to you.

In our pursuit of permissions to print, only one artist declined. Old stuff, she said.

Look, but do not publish?

Ah, then: To publish is to touch.