HANDSHAKE is a communication project including the electronic network Internet. Realized as an interactive room installation, it intends to be a communication interface between electronic net and life-world. Interested visitors, artists, media theorists and practical workers, are invited to enhance the growing space of information. Prepared communications and perceptual experiments, on a word or image basis, will refer to the cultural characteristics of the participants.

Besides describing networks as (anonymous) space, you also can understand them as organism-like structures. The decentralized order of the Internet then refers to a "connectionistic" structure, where the co-operation of many single "neurons" produces an entire behaviour with highly self-dynamic force. These structures are after all determined by the interaction of human beings, software and hardware, at which soft- and hardware and the surfaces form the global constant factors within networking interaction.

Which effect does it take, that people with different cultural background, with distinctive patterns of perception and behaviour, participate? Will these differences become unimportant in the net? Will arise a new collective matrix?

Everyone is involved in the process of communication: as producer, recipient or observer. Inspite of communication difficulties (restricted code) people make themeslves understood sucessfully because of their communicative behaviour. The human world of experience mainly consists of objects and events with symbolic meaning. This is valid for those signs especially created for the transmission of ideas, but also for other facts produced by nature or by man. In his phylogenetic progress man learns the symbolic meaning of his environment. For all that, the patterns of interpretation differ from individual to individual, and from one culture to another.

The symbols enable man to adopt behaviour and experiences of others, of contemporaries as well as of ancestors. Via the world of symbols, man gets into the collective traditions of society. The social rules guiding the individual behaviour - these may be individal expectations or common systems of conventions - are mediated by symbols.

The arrangement with the environment via symbols is the main characteristic of human action and thinking. An operational strategy for the research of social reality starts from marks of textual or visual utterances and concludes marks of a non-manifest context. And this is art.