Maze-Sites as an Art Form

Written May 6. 2000, at 23:12 GMT.

Soulbath is both whitty and extremely cool. Net art at its best. (Requires Flash 4)

Soulbath is a prime example of excellent execution of the maze-site art form. It may not be as complex maze as many, but the random clicking and exploring element is still there, and the uncertainity of what comes next. Each and every screen and pop-up gimmick are engaging in some way. The attention to detail is there and it pays off. Best of all, along the way there are some seriously whitty, if not sarcastic, if not intelligent remarks that make you smirk.

Best viewed with way too much time on one's hand.

I usually hate these maze type artworks you often see on the web. They seem too much like an obvious way to go. Most of them seem like they were taken as an easy way out for the artist. A short-cut to creating art in the new medium.

It's like everyone has gone like: Hey lets do some of this really hip "interactive" art thing, hmmm... Lets see... Now I know! I'll make a bunch of web pages and create random links between them and the users will click away endlessly until they puke. Voi-lŕ! super cool interactive internet art in a can!

What most artist seem not to realize is that the maze-site is a very difficult art form. Building a good maze-site is a tough intellectual task. The artist has to engineer an engaging (if not fun or aestetically pleasing) interactive experience using an almost totally un-immersive medium, the web-browser.

Unless each and every corner in the maze is maticulously thougth out, the mindless clicking at random elements gets very tiring, very fast.

Also, placing a bunch of hyperlinks on a web page does very little to make it "interactive". Interactivity is something much more. It's the engagement of the user, it's the two way communication (the user communicates with the page through the mouse and keyboard), it's the total experience of present intelligence. Interactivity is not about hyperlinks.

I end this by linking to The Hunt from Soulbath. I just love it. So simple, so short - yet somehow - so very interactive!


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