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alotronic ( - expired) is an example of what can be achieved by a personal website with a bit of creative flair. Part promotion, part experiment, Allen O’Leary’s interest in theatre and information technologies informs his hypermedia work The Casino Project. A groovy JPEG of a man running helter skelter entices you to join the pace of the site which is flashy and fast. Although a work in progress (60% complete), it is conceptually sophisticated, using frames to flesh out the inner workings of a man “jagged around the edges”, dealing with a relationship breakdown in the Melbourne Casino surrounds, “a beast with ten thousand eyes.” He drives to “her river”, contemplating ownership and borders, the need to claim spots as lovers’ spaces, as if you’re the first to discover them. Relationship breakdowns are a common theme in hyperfiction (My Father’s Father’s House, Six Sex Scenes), frames embodying in neat visual form the fractured, dislocated identity/emotions suddenly-singles experience post-love. The razzle dazzle of the Casino, “it’s two blocks long and one year old”, and dark murky depths of the Yarra, loom.

Using pixilated locations like the Crown carpark at 9.45pm, O’Leary entices you into a world of online gambling and really, all cruising, both in love and on the web, is a risk. Do you choose to look or buy? Surveillance translates well too. Men and women watch from behind cameras behind closed doors. Seductive and hesitant, like Matthew Condon’s novel The Pillow Fight (also uncovers the inner worlds of a casino/couple), The Casino Project is so far an exploration of male identity, anger and (loss of) control. which drills into the psyche.

Simpler in design, but crafty and intriguing in action, is Tulse Luper 92 suitcases ( paul.m/tlhome/html - expired). It’s a mouthful but what do you expect from a site rumoured to be filled in around the edges by Peter Greenaway. Confusing graphics of desktop meta-images—folders belonging to Greenaway, David Hockney—lead to small suitcase icons filled with the unimaginable and notions of the authentic. The Luggage Rack has bags added regularly. Stuffed and enticing, the contents are worth persevering for: little jigsaw puzzle pieces, unlabelled portraits, curiouser and curiouser. Click on screens and nothing happens. Numberly fun: letters from PG about Bacon numbers, “a measure of how closely an actor/actress is related to Kevin Bacon”, obsessions with statistics, a 30cm ruler (one foot). The writing crosses all genres but has a detective slant. Who is Tulse Luper? Where are the rest of his suitcases? Which are the real/fake ones? It’s possible to place clues and forge notes. Secret compartments lead to an unmade film about Tristram Shandy, mathematics and fly collecting, translation as art, road kill and buzzards, suitcases filled, as the intro reveals, with deaths, sounds, letters and stolen notices. Check out the feedback form for wry humour, Brit style.

Continuing with the abstract expression, extensive hypermedia works by Miekal And ( joglars/index.html - expired) focus on the textu(r)al and tactile: a ticking-over-word-puzzle tribute to intermedia composer Dick Higgins (Mesosistics for dick higgins); a typo-city font voyage (after emmett) where letters become characters (weren’t they always), exploring text-based design as language. spidertangle wordround is a hypertext workshop and playspace for creators to muck about in. Some of the works are cold and alienating at first: LogoKons plays with visual noise machines, black and white iconic windmills (or “fans for cows” as a young observer once said) that generate creaks and the spaces between that words create. The most interesting is Ubutronic Audio Faucet + Brainwave Seducer, a concentrated mix of sound, hypertext and graphics, atonal and resonant mouthmusic, building new noise rhythms according to the words you click on. Stumpsitter: a chorus of frogs and swamp boogie. A voice and harmonies appear out of nowhere. Close your eyes and it becomes trancelike, you’re a composer, making your own poem-song. Open up both Internet Explorer and Netscape browsers at the same time for the stereo mix...and my computer has a panic attack...

RealTime issue #32 Aug-Sept 1999 pg. 16

© Kirsten Krauth; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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