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Quintessence, Negative Entropy, and the Event Horizon
HorizonZero may be shifting states, but its energy abides
by Sara Diamond

Almost four years ago the star of www.HorizonZero.ca began to rise. I met with Peter Homulos, Assistant Deputy Minister of Heritage Canada, who at the time was in charge of the Canadian Culture Online program. I suggested that Canada would benefit from the creation of a Web-based publishing space with the ability to present creative new media art and culture, as well as provide thoughtful insights about its practice. The Banff Centre agreed, and supported the concept.

HorizonZero would be a showcase, a gallery, a space for dialogue. It would test the interactive capacities of the Web. Canadian design creativity would shine through every page. HorizonZero would be bilingual. HorizonZero would be a database. HorizonZero would include contributors from all over Canada and from diverse cultures. HorizonZero would at last capture the vibrancy of the Banff New Media Institute's many artistic participants. HorizonZero would represent a tremendous collective effort - one that would demonstrate the Canadian capacity for individual achievement and collaborative expression.

Peter and his successors at Canadian Heritage shared this vision. They funded the twinkling constellation of HorizonZero for three years.

Funding for HorizonZero has ended. It is now a nova, a radiant shooting star, a meteor shower, its relationship to time and space arching from synchronous tidal wave to perpetual, glowing archive. Our Web production has gone over the event horizon into the space of dark matter, into quintessence. Its echo and reflection will resonate in the networks of virtual knowledge. It is my hope that its clumpy adhesions, its continuing ability to stretch and rub rich frictions, repulsions, and transformations, will continue to allow its viewers to create new matter out of old, new manifolds out of its rich crevasses and seams.

HorizonZero will soon become a resource to discover, a site of memory and reinterpretation. It will live in perpetual motion as a Web site, and we will also share its bounty of assets throughout the world by rendering it as a dvd.

The transition of HorizonZero from living entity to material resource should not infer entropy within a suddenly closed system of Canadian media culture. (Entropy is a measurement of the unavailability of a system's energy to do work - a measure of disorder.) Rather, HorizonZero is experiencing a phase change, a shift in periodic motion taking the publication to another form. From a permeable liquid it is shifting to the solid form of a dvd on the one hand, and to the gaseous atmosphere of virtual space on the other. We hope that it will inspire the perpetual motion of cultural knowledge in new media and its related forms for many years to come.

I want to thank the many, many people who have made HorizonZero a reality over its short and radiating life, especially its Creative Directors, Producers, Editors, Designers, Programmers, and Researchers, as well as its many contributors. It has been a deep and abiding pleasure to create this force with you. It is hard to let it go over the horizon. It will live on.

Sara Diamond is Editor-in-Chief of HorizonZero.

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