FLTR 5.0 <narrative version>


1. donniedarko.com, requiemforadream.com: hi-res
2. otnemem.com: webflow solutions + musth design

3. when i am king (chapter 4): demian5

4. seoul net festival


donniedarko.com, requiemforadream.com: hi-res

Two promotional web sites for two terrifying films.  But they're not
promotional web sites like you'd thing.  Basically, the studio just told UK
experimental web design studio hi-res to do what they like.  So although the
Donnie Darko site has a pop-up at the beginning which leads to trailers of the
film, the rest of that site, and all of the Requiem for a Dream site could just
as well exist on their own apart from each film.  In fact, I spent a lot of
time on the requiem for a dream site before I ever saw the film or even knew
there was a film.  And I've yet to see the Donnie Darko film.

Donnie Darko unfolds like a cryptic mystery site.  Your job is to put the
pieces together by discovering clues that lead to succeeding levels of access. 
But it's less a Raymond Chandler mystery and more a metaphysical Haruki
Murakami mystery.  Hi-res knows web conventions, and they know how to
manipulate them.  An entire separate URL is set up to represent a legitimate
newspaper site.  Links go from the Donnie Darko site to faux newspaper stories
that are actually part of the Darko narrative, created by hi-res.  But because
of the legit layout of the newspaper site, and because it's at a separate URL,
we wonder.  Until we click on one of the links at the newspapaer site, and it
melts into this possessed Flash 404 error message complete with evil bunny
ascii art.  Kewl.

The Donnie Darko clues are none too difficult to discover, just a vehicle to
draw you in and get you participating.  So you're more than likely to make it
to the last level if you care to.  The narrative is not exactly linear (what
page with multiple links is?)  But it does build on itself.  I love this
indirect way of spelling out a plot by inference.  The signposts of the actual
site are in flux.  Hi-res sabotages our conventional expectations of the web,
giving us just enough normal look and behavior to make us think we're at a
"regular" site, and then they jank us.  Those little touchstones of orthodoxy
right before the meltdown make these two sites a lot more disorienting than
many a "freak-out-from-the-get-go" art sites.  If you're going to have a punch
line, don't neglect the set-up.

requiemforadream.com is an oldie but a goodie, already mused on by me in
greater detail here:

requiemforadream.com is a lot less linear than donniedarko.com, and it uses
more motion and audio.  For my money, it's a lot more immersive.  You're making
choices, but you're not aware that they are choices -- like life.  There are
actually about four or five different paths through the site, but you'd never
know it your first time through.  Having seen the film, which is a horrifying
moralistic tale -- The Rake's Progress on smack, literally -- I almost prefer
the web site.  There's no point comparing, but the web site is almost more
horrifying because it's less didactic, it gives less away.  You know someone
winds up ameliated and brain dead, but you're not sure why.  You know someone
winds up in a fetal position tucked away in some corner of some dark basement,
but you don't know why.  When asked to fill in the blanks and given enough
creative momentum to fuel that filling-in process, people will come up with
horrors that a Hollywood screenwriter never dreamed.


don't believe the hype(rtext):  

If all u got is text, what do u got?



otnemem.com: webflow solutions + musth design

Yet another movie promo site (this one for Momento), similar to the two
hi-res-designed sites above.  otnemem.com is more text based, but its text is
in Flash files and jpg's and gif's.  No old-school html ascii text.  Because
the narrative is not a computer narrative.  The "core navigation screen" is
just a newspaper clipping of a murder.  Different words in in the clipping are
actual links.  These links lead to psychological evaluation records, police
records, and eventually notes that the protagonist has written to himself.  We
come to discover the chief plot vehicle simply by linking around and
"researching" -- the protagonist discovered his wife murdered, and now he's
turned into mr. short-term memory (kind of like the Tom Hanks character on
Saturday Night Live, but with scary tattoos).

I still haven't seen this film because I know it will haunt me, and I already
have enough actual things haunting me; no mas.  I really don't have to see the
film to be haunted, since this form of participatory web narrative is
compelling and eerie in and of itself.  It's true that we are led along.  We're
not writing the whole thing ourselves.  And to me that's a plus.  The genius of
this type of narrative is not merely that it's "interactive."  (Isn't
everything interactive, more or less?)  Its genius is that it leads us to a
place of its own devising, and leaves us there disoriented and fearful, with
gaps in the narrative for us to supply.  Freak somebody out and then leave them
to fill in the blanks, and they are going to generate some freaky, fear-blob

If you've already seen the movie, the collateral web site experience will be
largely a color-by-numbers gig.  Sadly, such is unavoidable.

So far in this FLTR we have discussed 3 commercial sites promoting Hollywood
films as if these 3 sites were something cool and noteworthy.  If that bothers
you, why?  McLuhan observed that the "content" of all new media is actually old
media itself.  He also blithely observed that the advertisements are by far the
best part of any newspaper or magazine.  Wake up and smell the cross-media
marketing, and prepare to be soft-[c/s]ell invaded by The Madison Avenue
Frogmen-Of-The-Mind.  Sure, why not.


The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy:

Is that a stamp in our pocket, or am i just happy to see us?



when i am king (chapter 4): demian5

Scott McLoud is the Socrates of comics, and whenever he's asked which comic
best works online, he usually points folks to "When I Am King."  My favorite
chapter of the 5 so far is this chapter 4, which includes several dream
sequences and a hallucination.  The hallucination is the best.  Up to this
point, the entire comic is colorful but 2D.  Yet when the king eats some of the
llama's magic plant, he goes all 3D and animated gif.  Again, the "art" of much
narrative lies in the set-up (or "exposition," if you must).  We've been set up
for 3 chapters to "read" in this flat, motionless, wordless, frame-by-frame
language.  Suddenly adding 3D and motion to the narrative makes the strip seem
to leap out of the page.  It seems to be doing something that it can't -- the
perfect narrative form for a hallucination passage.  Joyce, Faulkner, demian5.

Comics have already developed their own intricate representational vocabulary
by now, and here demian5 takes comics to the web in a way somewhere between an
orthodox print "strip" and a full on Flash cartoon (which is technically not a
comic, but an animation).  So what if "When I Am King" is mostly about erectile
disfunction.  Heck, these days, what isn't?


the definitive comic book novel; there's nothing comic about it:

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth



seoul net festival

Yes, another Korean net festival.  This one also feature YHC Heavy Industries,
but I think that's about the only similarity between the two.  The Seoul Net
Festival is really a digital film festival, but they stretch the definition of
film pretty far, so that "film" comes off seeming more like an operative
paradigm and less like an actual media genre.  There's an offline aspect and an
online aspect.  Since most of us won't be in Seoul to make the offline aspect
(which consists of mostly screenings and lectures), we're left with the online

Online and out of competition, there's some funny leggo star wars animations,
some films that excerpt and loop snippets from British TV ads, and YHC Heavy
Industries.  Online and in competition, the categories seem to have been
created after the fact, based on the entry pool.  There's a "Flash" category,
but then some pieces in other categories are also Flash.  It's kind of hard to

Most of the quicktime links wouldn't work for me.  I'm on a mac.  Maybe you'll
fair better.  One of my pieces was selected to be in the online competition
(which is how I heard about the festival in the first place), and I'm listed as
"director."  It has made me rethink my animated gif fetishism and web motion in
general.  Am I merely a director?  What is it to be a director?

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FLTR -- less sporadic; more emphatic.  because you can't get what you want (in
two thousand aught one) till you know what you want (in two thousand aught