Potluck is a shockwave audio engine with a twist. Most online remix environments feature sound samples by a single artist. Potluck gives access to loops and ambient effects created by a range of experimental artists, and new sound libraries are added each month. The playful interface is the brainchild of Amy Franceschini (of futurefarmers.com fame), and takes some getting used to, but one can master Potluck without being DJ Clue. Create your genius mix, and save it online for others to enjoy.
A bat that flies through lead, an ant with an audible scream, a detailed miniature crucifix made out of human hair -- these and other anomalies are on display at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, and online at the museum\'s website. Something between London\'s Natural History Museum and Ripley\'s Believe It or Not, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is pleasurably disorienting in its deadpan Victorian earnestness and its collection\'s persistent ability to astound. Orchestrated ambiguity meant to undermine certainty and provoke wonder: art perhaps?
Engaging and believable narrative environments within the non-linear, browser-based confines of the internet -- these are the holy grails of much net art. The Donnie Darko site comes pretty darned close. Created to promote the Hollywood paranormal thriller of the same name, the site is its own entity -- derived from the movie, yet establishing an entirely other, web-specific universe, complete with spoofed URLs, password-protected areas, and evil 404 error messages. Winner of the 2002 Prix Ars Electronica distinction for net excellence, donniedarko.com ups the ante for web narrative.
What do you get when you cross a networked screensaver, Buckminster Fuller\'s quasi-cosmic tetrahedron worship, Richard Dawkins\' evolutionary cybernetics, and a whole lot of computer down time? You get n 0 time, software that attempts to embody practically every major wired theory put forth in the last 25 years. Networked, customized, imploding, meme-laden tetrahedral avatars! \"n 0 time-sharing\" community protocols! Auto-generated e-mail invitations to exclusive online implosion re-enactments! And you thought it was just a screensaver. (Free. PC version only.)
When ambient music godfather Brian Eno finds himself creatively stuck, he reaches for an Oblique Strategy card. Each card contains advice meant to jar the artistic soul out of stagnation and back into the stream of genius. (\"Question the heroic approach\" is a personal favorite.) Eno and painter Peter Schmidt developed the first series of Oblique Strategies in 1975. Now the cards are available as downloads, and one can just click a button to \"pick\" a random card. Commit to following these strategies, and watch oblique confidence bloom.
The software project HF Critical Mass appropriates the structure of conceptual filmmaker Hollis Frampton's 1971 film (called, of course, Critical Mass), in which a short clip of a couple's argument is fragmented and repeated for 25 minutes. Programmer Barbara Lattanza applies the same methodology to an interface that plays Quicktime movies. The complex playback pattern algorithm makes familiar narratives strange and unsettling. So, upload your family's holiday video, watch it stutter, repeat, and fall apart. Tell yourself the creeping malaise you feel is just about narrative, not family.