Video? Poetry? Net art?

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It's a bit like a Nine Inch Nails video...and a bit like Poe's poetry. Yet it's something totally different. But also like both of those things combined. It's "Distillates," a recent online work produced by a five year old outfit called Texturadesign, that offers up a combo of digital video, text, eerie images, and other features to create a moody piece of art. A three-stanza poem gradually unfurl across abstract images. It's not like reading a book, not like reading film titles, not even so much like reading hypertext fiction. So how do we categorize such literary works? Do we need to?

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A Model Child

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Eduardo Navas has created a charming (and haunting) portrait of a professional child model, "Chloe" -- at the urging of the girl's mom and dad. Navas observed that even when Chloe was photographed for casual vacation shots, she was always "on" for the camera, or at least aware of it. The Web portrait of this self-aware six year old utilizes straight Javascript and HTML manipulating sliced images. The pictures evolve every ten seconds, along with the background color as well. The image is never the same twice, as Chloe, as she herself grows, will never be, although she might try to remain in "character" as she poses for the camera. Navas is currently Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches technical and theoretical multimedia principles in the Art and Art History Department.

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Lyrics by William Shakespeare

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For a new twist on one of the most popular tragedies of all time, check out Italian artist dlsan's new site, "The HyperMacbeth." The Bard's famous lines pop up on the screen, and you choose which phrase or monologue comes next. Rather than actors, abstract graphics and some figurative animations pop up...giving the words a new dynamism in themselves. A javascript code randomly chooses colors, fonts, music. Of course the "lyrics" are credited on the site's opening page to noneother than Mr. William Shakespeare...who no doubt would have dug hypertext lit.

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In the (Central) City

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Stanza's "The Central City" takes you on a wild ride through an urban landscape based on digital images and recorded sounds of London, towers, streets, and all. Navigate through networks and grids much as you would through streets and alleyways. But this metropolis is actually a melange of issues that are raised in the urban dweller's mind. You may start seeing the similarities between a design encountered on this site and the veins in a leaf rather than just concrete boulevards. This metaphorical experience is intentional. Of course the way that you navigate, as you would in the real London, is up to you. Don't get lost...although if you do, you'll have fun.

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New Show at New Museum

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Opening tonight at the New Museum's Zenith Media Lounge in Manhattan: "Open_Source_Art_Hack," which is open to the public from May 3- June 30. This group show will look at some of the hottest issues in computing culture today: hacking, open source ethics, and more. Not just a static museum show, the programming features tours by the Surveillance Camera Players; a performance by Critical Art Ensemble; an installation by Knowbotic Research; a Free Radio Linux broadcast by r a d i o q u a l i a; and much, much more. The extravaganza was put together by Steve Dietz, Curator of New Media, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Jenny Marketou, a New York-based artist, in collaboration with Anne Barlow, Curator of Education and Media Programs, New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Is it a Qrime?

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Violence is certainly common among all people...so is it possible to derive an aesthetic that can communicate the universality of the horrors of crime? Motomichi Nakamura's "Qrime" is an episodic series of short Flash animations that uses the basic color scheme of red, black and white and a simple, angular set of graphics to express the "feel" of violence efficiently to site visitors from any culture. The seven episodes are presented in a non-linear sequence that makes one think about the randomness and unpredictable nature of so much violent crime.

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Physical Net Art Objects for Sale

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So you like net art. And you wish you could "collect" it. But how does one go about purchasing a slippery, non-physical work of art, even by a recognized artist who works with pixels and programs? Check out Art Cart. At this site, you can get a collector's edition of Teo Spiller's "Trash Can" (pictured) along with a print, or have Valery Grancher paint a screen shot of a web site. The shopping's online of course...it's fun to browse, and a work of conceptual net art in itself.

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Revisiting Dante

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Bringing classical literature to the world of net art, Polish artist Dariusz Nowak-Nova's "Project Dante" is a complex site that illustrates how new media can effectively update how we look at myth, mythology, and archetypes. The artist has stated that via new technologies, users are more able to experience a sense of the subconscious (think of how surreal and dreamlike clicking through various layers of a web site can be, witnessing various animations, text, and sound). "Project Dante" includes a version of "The Inferno" created a few years ago, as well as "Purgatorio," launched last year. Both serve as intriguing, 21st century interpretations of the timeless text, which would be interesting to revisit in book form alongside this web site.

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