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Wednesday, January 23, 2002
On this rainy morning, some classy black and white animation. A gorgeous, in every sense, flash animation, featuring laid back music and the talents of a thousand flash monkeys and one Eva Herzigova, supermodel. Presented as an interactive game, it appears to trail her official website (which is certainly not located at www.evaherzigova.net). The finished version is unlikely to be quite as noir as the trailer.

Are Flash sites at all practical if you need to convey information? Witness what happens with big magazines and institutions; they shell out vast sums to create intense on-line environments, only for them to gradually atrophy due to lack of funds and knowledge. A case in point, the dramatic original Victoria & Albert Museum site has now been replaced with something altogether more sedate (uglier, too). The Barbican's isn't too bad, but still relies heavily on a graphics-friendly technology to present textual information.

Where museums have truly been able to harness the power of the web is with the microsite, a stand-alone website that accompanies a specific exhibition. Not only do microsites give a better overall sense of how an exhibition is presented, but they also live on once the partitions have come down and the gallery has moved on to something else. A recent favourites was Airside's cute interactive Onlinejam for the Barbican's Jam exhibition of 2001. The Van Gogh Museum's microsite for their forthcoming Van Gogh and Gaugin exhibition is a case in point - a flash site that uses the artists' correspondence as a basis for illustrative animations.

Jay Jopling's White Cube Gallery (also by Airside) is more dictatorial: if you're in the market for this kind of art, it's assumed you have the technology to view it. That said, updates are regular and the animated typographic interface isn't overly complex. But why can't all on-line art projects be as snappy as this? If only we knew what it was all about…