Chapter 1:
Internet Art
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Digital Weakness
Table of Figures
James Hayes' art website

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The four artists reviewed so far in this chapter have mainly made use of "standard" Internet technology (excepting Shredder of course), utilising images, text, frames, hypertext links, and the ability to continuously update material. The most recent innovation taken up by Internet artists has been Flash™ animation. Flash™ animation (introduced by Macromedia®) allows for complex, interactive animations in a format that is excellent at compressing files into small sizes (employing vector graphics22). Flash™ animations can also include sound, using the MP323 compression format, also highly suited to the file size demands of the Internet. Prior to the Flash™ format, artists were restricted to GIF24 animations, which are very limiting (using a traditional frame-by-frame animation process), general are huge in file sizes, and do not support sound or interactivity (can be used only as a single link).

The fifth and final website, Brainrinse by Stef Lewandowski and Antonio Gould25 (see Figure 8 and Figure 9), is an esoteric interactive Flash™ animation that takes the viewer through six stages of brainwashing, charting the isolation, breakdown and subsequent training of the subject. The Brainrinse project does allow a certain amount of interaction but is basically linear in approach. The artists obviously want the audience to view all stages of the work in a certain order, although it is possible return to favourite images or stages at the click of the mouse.

Figure 8 Lewandowski & Gould, Brainrinse website,, October 2001

The concept of interacting with moving images is astounding, and Lewandowski and Gould use this feature to the full, although their work makes limited use of actual "animation" in the strictest sense, but rather more often uses moving still images. By moving the cursor around the screen different information, images and animations are presented to the viewer, allowing the viewer to select the pace of the animation's progression. The viewer can chop and change the order and flow of the animation to a certain extent, but the overall content is limited to six unique stages, which are easily viewed in their entirety, as opposed to Benjamin's extensive Superbad website26. This may be due to the extra level of effort required to create animation compared to straightforward web pages, so that it would take much longer to create the level of content required to match a "winding maze of pages" feel.

The introduction of sound also lends new possibilities for creativity. Lewandowski and Gould's use of sounds gives auditory cues to the audience when they have located an interactive element of the animation, as well as providing atmosphere to the piece through the use of continuous background sounds suggestive of tension such as white noise and deep bass tones. The use of 1950s and 1960s style medical photos is suggestive of old-school CIA practices, and combined with "instruction manual" type text lends itself well to the overall feel of the piece. The inclusion of a few bright colours and animated stars adds to the surreal feeling the subject might be expected to experience.

Figure 9 Lewandowski & Gould, Brainrinse website,, October 2001

by James Hayes
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