Hiroshima, for Lepage, therefore, becomes the key reincarnation of an idea that governs the structure and content of Seven Streams; that seeming opposites – male / female, yin / yang, life / death, tragedy / comedy – are reflections of the same underlying reality.
You quickly feel that, if this is the case, the same must be true of ultimate profundity and total vacuousness. The work begins and ends in Hiroshima, a city which Lepage, on his first visit, was surprised to discover is now a place of sensuous vitality rather than of emblematic devastation. For example, the two bridges that the Japanese built across the river Ota after the bombing are shaped like a penis and vagina – the reproductive organs necessary for renewal. Directed by the Quebecois wunderkind Robert Lepage, and “conceived” by a team that includes himself and his nine performers, this seven-and-a-half hour epic spans three continents and 52 years in its attempt to tease the paradoxes of destruction and regeneration on a planet shadowed by the Holocaust, the atom bomb and Aids A single-issue piece it is not
Paradox is very much the name of the game.
Lack of ambition is not – prima facie, at least – a charge you could easily level against The Seven Streams of the River Ota, now playing at the Lyttelton. It is not necessarily possible for electronic stores to compete on price but they can provide a better service.”LifestyleFinder and BargainFinder are located on Andersen Consulting’s home page at http:// www.ac . The information is used by its consultants advising companies developing electronic shopping and banking facilities.Bruce Krulwich, a research scientist for Andersen in Chicago, who has headed up the BargainFinder, LifestyleFinder and InfoFinder projects, said: “We want to see what use will be made of intelligent agents. Consumers should also find that important get-out clauses are drawn to their attention.Andersen has not made a charge to consumers for its services so far, and is motivated by its desire to learn more about consumer behaviour in electronic commerce. Consumers do not sensibly buy financial services solely on the basis of cost, but take into account a range of other products.Information ascertained by LifestyleFinder might be used to advise which health insurance product would be appropriate for an individual given their personal health experience. It will be possible to target customers effectively with new products.This information is essential if intelligent agents are to be used, not just for simple products with a single standard, such as CDs or books, and move on to more flexible and complex services, particularly financial products.
By asking users for personal details – from what type of car and home you own, to what newspaper you read – a better “lifestyle” picture can be built up. The absence of a personal relationship in Cyberspace between vender and customer means that neither gets the best from the arrangement, believes Andersen. Microsoft, CompuServe and other online and Internet service providers are developing intelligent agent software systems that can be used for sourcing a range of products.Last month, Andersen unveiled its latest product, LifestyleFinder, which may take electronic commerce further. Users of CompuServe’s online information service can use easySABRE’s Bargain Finder system, which finds the cheapest fares and the best itinerary. Microsoft will launch a similar product, called Expedia, in November in the US (to be launched in January in Britain).This will be a comprehensive package providing an information searching and online booking service, covering flights, hotels and car hire, which will post daily to a user’s e-mail address the latest best offer until a reservation is booked. Most retailers’ Web sites are advertisements, and do not contain enough information for a search engine to work effectively.Since the launch of BargainFinder, a number of similar systems have been made available on the Web by other organisations, mostly comparing prices for books and software.