The International Conference on Cyberspace was founded in 1991 by Michael Benedikt, who, at the time, was chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Benedikt's original thought was to bring together a small number of people from a variety of disciplines who had been thinking about the possibilities and challenges of computer-mediated communication.

Benedikt brought to the planning of the conference ideas he had been considering regarding how people interact in social spaces of various kinds. These included specific plans for room layout, maximum number of attendees, etc., which have been collected and codified in the Philosophy section.

The first Cyberconf consisted of fifty people from various walks of life who had demonstrated interest in the topic, some of whom are still active in the field, some of whom have gone on to other interests. Following the conference, Benedikt proposed that the proceedings be edited and published. Robert Pryor at MIT Press displayed interest in the project, and the book was subsequently published as Cyberspace: First Steps.

Among the attendees at the first Cyberconf was Allucquere Rosanne Stone, maverick theoretician, engineer and performance artist and the author of The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age, who at the time was a graduate student in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In a conversation with Benedikt, Stone expressed interest in continuing the conference the following year, and Benedikt concurred. With the assistance of then-graduate-students Ronald Eglash and Joseph Dumit, the support of Wendy Brown, then director of Women's Studies, and with Benedikt as eminence grise, 2Cyberconf was held at UC Santa Cruz in the spring of 1991. Approximately 175 people attended.

Bouyed by the success of the conference's continuation, Benedikt and Stone set about planning for 3Cyberconf. Both were keenly interested in holding the conference outside the United States, and accepted the offer of (TK) to host the conference at the University of Montreal. However, a series of setbacks at U.Montreal involving loss of funding required cancelling the conference at the last minute. After a brief council of war, Benedikt and Stone took the conference back and rescheduled it for Austin, where it was held the following year.

Stone at this time was an Assistant Professor at UT Austin in the department of Radio-TV-Film, working across departments with Benedikt and in the throes of completing her dissertation. Accordingly Benedikt and Marcus Novak, then an assistant professor in Architecture at UT, carried most of the responsibility for 3Cyberconf. Upon finishing her dissertation, Stone again threw herself into the fray and has been director of all subsequent Cyberconfs.

At 3Cyberconf were several representatives of the Banff Centre for the Arts, the world-famous institute in the Canadian Rockies. They responded to the call for hosts for the future 4Cyberconf. Among the organizers were Sara Diamond, director of Media and Visual Arts, and Douglas McCloud. 4Cyberconf was held at Banff in the spring of 1995.

With 4Cyberconf, the conference took off in a much bigger way, and was host to a number of debates regarding the importance and application of the concept of cyberspace outside its original gestation place in the United States; and a number of First Nations representatives at the conference expressed concern that cyberspace would replicate Western cultural imperatives in a similar way to television.

5Cyberconf was held in Madrid in 1996, hosted by Spanish Telecom and organized by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Susan (TK). Attendees were treated not only to a broad representation of researchers from across the globe, but to sumptuous Spanish hospitality and a dazzling assortment of art and cultural institutions within easy walking distance.

6Cyberconf was hosted by Morten Soby at the University of Oslo, Norway. Once again the strategy of holding the conference in a nation where it had not previously been held produced useful cultural clashes and unexpected resonances. As part of the negotiations for hosting the conference, Soby promised to turn Oslo into "Fun City" for the three days of the conference -- surely an Herculean task well executed!

An impenetrable atmosphere of mystery surrounds 7Cyberconf, about which little is known and virtually nothing has been written.

With Suzy Meszoly's hosting of 8Cyberconf in Budapest, the conference came to the former Eastern bloc and broke new ground. Stone met with Meszoly and a representative of the transnational Etoy conspiracy at Avatars97 in San Francisco. At the meeting, Stone expressed her feeling that it was long past time for the conference to strike off in new directions, or suffer the fate of becoming just one more gathering of theoreticians talking to one another. Meszoly and the nameless Etoynik concurred enthusiastically. The result of that meeting was 8Cyberconf, the theme of which was High Risk Baby. 8Cyberconf was held inside an abandoned factory near Budapest, complete with heavy machinery, and attended by an international list of artists, theoreticians, and practitioners. The "alien fetus" logo from 8Cyberconf became the website's unofficial mascot.

Following the conference, Meszoly and Stone began work on 9Cyberconf, which was planned to be held in yet another ex-Eastern bloc nation, possibly Estonia. The tragic death of Meszoly's husband called an indefinite halt to her participation, while Stone, who was being reviewed for tenure in the University of Texas RTF department, came under attack from an ultraconservative faction there, forcing her to divert considerable time and energy to internal politics. 9Cyberconf and the continuation of the series remain to be completed. 10Cyberconf -- -- the final conference of the series -- was planned by Benedikt and Stone for Austin and intended to reunite the original fifty participants from 1Cyberconf for a ten-year retrospective on progress/retrogress in the field.

We are still gathering information and attempting to reconstruct the Cyberconf archives. If you have information you'd like to add to our pages, emendations or corrections, please write to our Archivist.