Out There: Alternative & Project Sites

A note about the rating system: The ratings reflect a subjective balance of such criteria as originality, concept, execution and suitability to the medium. Please post your recommendations or comments to the Bulletin Board.

**** not to be missed
*** recommended
** if interested
* avoid
(date) date reviewed

** X-Factor Online Conference for Experimental Media: This fun site is like a lefty artists' and political activists' summer camp. Increase your awareness of arts issues through interactive activities like "Build Your Own Manifesto" or "Altered Sites," where user-yippies are encouraged to post their own visions of a corporate or government sites. (11/96)

** "Immersive Ideals/Critical Distances" BBS on The Thing: Joseph Nechvatal's bulletin board dedicated to the "immersive ideal" in virtual reality and art collapses some Internet categories. It looks like a Usenet newsgroup that happens to exist on a web site. Although the board is in its infancy, it's got potential. Two of the more interesting threads are called "What is reality? What is Virtual Reality?" and "VR/ART/DESIGN". (10/96)

***1/2 Bodies Inc.: This site changed dramatically over the summer. The emphasis of the project has shifted from the simple display of virtual bodies to a virtual-body-related critique of capitalism, complete with hilarious "law babble" and "disclaimers" on the main page. The legalese escalates as potential body owners fill out complex "Suspended Entity Forms" and "Dismembered Entity Forms" to transfer ownership--or "kill" their cyber-fictional bodies. You need VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language); BI has been known to crash computers. (11/96)

**** Jodi.org: A long-time cult favorite, this is one of only a few sites that actually uses the medium to create something remarkable that may or may not be intended as "art." We think it is. The ingenious techno-symbolism makes more sense the more you know about HTML, Java, Unix, and other programming/scripting languages. Dada disorganization prevails and there are lots of little tricks to stumble across: One page is filled with the "grabbing hand" that your cursor turns into when it hits a hypertext link, making it difficult to locate your cursor on screen. Another whisks you back to a "flashback" page as the Jodi code finds the URLs of sites you've already visited. Leave any notions of Web art at the "door." (10/96)

*** Placing.com: Former Suckster Carl Steadman's latest project focuses on the ways in which products and their advertising have infiltrated our consciousness. The minimalist design and teensy snippets of text make consuming this Web site as easy as consuming the products that it features. (10/96)

**1/2 Conductor #1: Getting in Touch with Chicken: Q: What do you get when you mix chickens, pine boxes, video cameras, computer monitors, and Scotch fried-chicken eaters? A: A burst of spiritual energy or at least a good laugh from this spoof of over-hyped Web art. (10/96)

***1/2 ada web: Beautifully-designed site (run by Benjamin Weil) featuring engaging works like Julia Scher's delicious "Securityland" and "PleaseChangeBeliefs," Jenny Holzer's flashing, if familiar, aphorisms. (10/95)

**3/4 ArtNetWeb: Lots of projects and chats; a very mixed bag.

**1/2 Corpse: What do you get when the Surrealist parlor game of Exquisite Corpse goes digital? Images you can never experience in their entirely because you have to keep scrolling down to see each artist's addition. Right idea, wrong technology. (4/95)

***1/2 Gates of Heck: Frequently changing exhibitions of work by artists who make quirky multiples and artists books for publisher Katherine Gates. Art-porn queen Annie Sprinkle's home page is here with plenty of instructions for do-it-yourselfers. (9/95)

** Gen Art: The revenge of the careerist, 20-somethings? (yawn) (3/96)

***1/4 Sandra Gering Gallery: The US commercial gallery with the highest electronic profile; the site features artist John Simon's ingenious "Alter Stats," a constantly changing statistical profile of site-visitors and Ben Kinmont's "We Both Belong," an offbeat ode to communality.

** Moscow Sun Site: Too early to tell (hopefully)? The best--and oddest--work is Sergei Chilikov's "Farm Strip Show." It's just what the title suggests, but if there's irony here, it doesn't translate. (5/96)

**3/4 Plexus: A hybrid site that's the on-line home of the journal Lacanian Ink, slide-file-ish "exhbitions" and some cool chat in the Chalkboard section. (3/96)

***1/2 The Thing: Perhaps the oldest art bulletin board in the US (with 5 nodes in Europe), The Thing now provides Internet service and a web site. Artist Wolfgang Staehle programs frequently changing art projects; the current batch suggests a fondness for sound pieces with works by Christian Marclay, Stephen Beck, and Joseph Nechvatal among them. (1/95)

*** X-Art Foundation: An essential, digitally-oriented art organization (founded by Jordan Crandall) dedicated to "art, cultural studies and information technologies" exploring the "crossroads of artist, institution, and network." Not many pix, but serious ideas here, including info about the fabulous Blast portfolio-pub, which is always looking for contributors. (8/95)

ALTERNATIVE SPACES (like museums, unrated unless unusual)

Artists Space

Light Work: The Syracuse photo space.

PS 122: The New York performance space.

Real Art Ways (RAW): Hartford.

Out There
Issue 3