Some websites that I like

Cool 3D World

I’ve written about Cool 3D World before, but never specifically about their website. This site has to be one of the most annoying user experiences of all time, and honestly I applaud it for that. Every link that might be useful is constantly hurtling across the page, while a grotesque figure peers out at you from behind a moues responsive layer of viscous liquid.

The complete disdain this group has for people who enjoy what they make is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Wolfman Museum

Similarly I’ve talked about The Wolfman Museum before, and in that case specifically about their website. While for my project The Halls of Galleria the interest was in the the gallery’s structure, my interest in regards to www.lifeshell.online I’m more interested in the convoluted, secretive layout. I love that the site has hidden locations that are hard to reach unless you’re intimately familiar with the site.

Again in the modern world this rejection of usability might seem hostile, but in the early days of the internet were challenges that produced a sense of being in the know.

Xanthe Dobbie

Xanthe Dobbie is a Melbourne based artist whose GIF and video work revolves around the expression of queer culture. The site has a similar structure to mine, but functions more as a portfolio. Each link is accompanied by a GIF, some whose origin dates back to very early internet culture, such as the dancing baby. This method of using older files from the internet serves as both a form of archiving, but also a reclaiming of the materials as aesthetically and culturally important.

Texture Generator

A GitHub texture generation tool, this site uses #math to generate some pretty absurd looking textures. Through the combining of several preset equations and a tweaking of values, you can often direct the site to make some really beautiful tiling images.

GitHub has been my favorite source of strange tools to help build my websites because it’s full of nerds (compliment) just giving away gems for free!

DALLĀ·E mini

Obviously AI has it’s limits, and this prompt was just too far beyond what is imaginable by AI at this point in time. Funnily enough, this project worked relatively well up until google released news of it’s own proprietary AI that generates images. Upon people realizing they weren’t on the list to try Imagen, they must have stumbled across the best free alternative which is the DALL-E mini, hammering it with requests for least favorite political candidates smooching each other.

Exhibition Journal September 2021

The Wolfman Museum

Wolfman museum is an interactive online gallery, it is located in outer space floating just near a red dwarf star. The museum contains a combination of traditional art gallery exhibitions, live streams, archived media, interactive tools and other oddity’s such as a hike to the top of MT Wolfman and MT Jazz.

The architecture is confusing and convoluted, though there are several guides and links to help you navigate your way around the installation. One of the driving principles for the creators Robert and Peter Hopkins was re-creating a traditional website experience, much like the archived content, the very interface is drenched in old internet nostalgia.

Jazz cat serves as a guide during your visit, how exactly a cat manages to relax in zero gravity is beyond me, but Jazz seems to have it all figured out. Walking around the gallery, what impresses and engages me more isn’t the art hanging on the walls, but the gallery space itself. I’m going to post below a few images from my trip that I felt most impressed by, and I really implore anyone reading this to go experience it for yourself.

Searching for good interactive online gallery’s for this project was rough, so many aimed to replicate the constraints of a real life gallery, white walls with images hung up at eye level. Why, with the boundless power of the information age, would you restrain yourself to the conventions of the art world as we know it. I think that’s the real beauty of the Wolfman Museum, it’s ability to challenge what a gallery is, and how we interact with it.

Intersection

Having just went on a bit of a rant about traditional gallery spaces being translated into the digital world, here is a more traditional gallery space translated into the digital world. You can download the experience through the indie games platform itch.io here, or watch the guided tour down below, you won’t need access to a VR headset for either, but it seems that the video was shot in a VR environment.

One aspect of this showing I really enjoyed was how much care went into recreating the artwork in a digital environment. Jem Wollidge’s work right of the bat has an amazing 3d quality, and a brilliant use of textures to recreate almost a knitted texture. Similary Diedrick Brackens’s work sits off the wall and actually wowed me when I first saw it, something I’ve never had a still image in a digital gallery do before.

Some rooms have stylistic accents which compliment the art being shown, as with Jared Olsever, whose work features mechanical humans. We can see pipes and cables running up the walls and into the ground, the room also has a unique colour pallet on the walls, with a deep, warm orange. Alkarim Jadavji also has themed his room, with pitch black walls accentuating the vibrant colour’s in his animated images. This coupled with the red curtains that appear on both entry and exit as you enter, creates a sense of being hidden or taboo, but also comfort and excitement.

The International Pixel Art Gallery

This last gallery is one that commits one hundred percent to it’s theme and aesthetic, the aim of the project was to be a central exhibit for pixel artists all around the world, to bring them together and hopefully to new audiences. Again this project can be accessed through itch.io, where you can also find a list of all the artists involved and their Instagram links.

The opening page is a map of the world with an arcade style cursor, allowing you to mouse over countries, and click through to find what artists have submitted work to the gallery. The actual gallery portion of the show is a very simple slideshow, and a link to find out more about the artist. There is also a quiz section that runs through a series of images from the show and has you guess what country the work is from.

I have to say I was most impressed with Australia’s entrant Michael Blake, his work Doppelganger (2020) and Doppelganger Too (2020) can be seen above. A lot of the other work resembles video game art, or involves small animations. There is a very mixed bag, the quality level varies from artist to artist, but it achieves its goal of being a showcase for artists in a niche artform.