Volume 93, Issue 53

Friday, December 3, 1999


Weekend Pass

Miller turns Fifty with flair

Undercovers lose ska disguise


Hellcat shouldn't get the boot

Canadians ride into the sunset across the border



There's no doubt creativity on the web is suffering as a result of rapid commercialization, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost.

A sudden proliferation of web-based artistic endeavours is proving conclusively that the creative potential of the world wide web is limited only by the creator's imagination.

Spearheading the charge to re-energize the web is an enigmatic site found at www.hell.com. This decidedly uncommercial internet art museum with the deceivingly barren aesthetic was founded by a small group of creative renegades. Out of a disgust with the commercialization of the web, these artistic vanguards got together and conceived the highly ambiguous and mysterious HELL.com.

Although the site has never been advertised or included in the databases of any search engine, it has gathered a tremendous following, largely on the strength of word of mouth referral and curious net geeks. Since its inception over four years ago, a huge amount of traffic has been generated just by inquisitive techno-types wondering exactly what would come up at that particular domain name.

The site initially started as an anti-social joke, but when its founders saw the amount of traffic it was generating, they decided to take it to the next level. Thus, the multimedia art gallery idea came to fruition.

True to its anti-commercialization ethic, HELL.com isn't open to just anyone. The idea behind the page is to create content geared specifically to a certain type of surfer. Therefore, the opening pages of HELL.com are designed to "weed out" unwanted visitors and therefore, gaining access to the main menu of the web site takes some persistence and time.

Once you're there, however, you'll be treated to a virtual smorgasbord of interactive art exhibits. With the collective work of over 60 avant-garde artists, each exhibit changes on a fairly regular basis and aren't archived for posterity, so it's in your best interest to check back in order to make sure you don't miss anything.

And there's very little here worth missing. Some of the exhibits linked from the main lounge are cutting edge multimedia presentations that tackle topics ranging anywhere from sex to personal identity to technology. Other links are merely eye-candy, relying on frenetic layout and Shockwave Flash technology to entertain.

Regardless of what the thematic content is, there's no denying the content on HELL.com consists of some of the most brilliantly innovative and invigorating art being created anywhere.

–Mark Pytlik

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Copyright The Gazette 1999