TECHNOFILE

An intriguing new hypermedia magazine made its debut last month, making brave noises about its editorial vision. No, not Michael Kinsley's online publication Slate, whose launch was splashed over the news pages of its inky ancestors. We'll come to that in due course. While Slate was making itself available gratis on the Net, a magazine on CD-ROM called Interactive Wave was trying to carve out a niche on the newsstands. A mammal in a world of dinosaurs, or a misguided stray from a software shop?

I-Wave (pounds 9.99) is actually an Anglicised and updated version of a French product that goes by the grandly rolling title of La Vague Interactive. For your tenner you get a publication unmistakably descended from glossy magazines, but which is equally distinctively a specimen of a new form. Logically, the nearest comparison after print forms is with television, but subjectively it feels a little bit like personal cinema. Its producers have a wide-screen sensibility.

They are also multimedia purists, insisting that every item be a graphical, textual and aural experience. In some areas, the effect is that of a very small gift in a very big box. The CD-ROM reviews, for example, boil down to thumbnail notices whose natural home is a sidebar on a printed page. I-Wave's critical acuity is a touch uneven, too. Kevin Costner, narrator of 500 Nations, a disk about Native Americans, is decried for "easing a typically post-colonial collective conscience" while failing to examine his own. Yet when it comes to other Western stars who dally with indigenous peoples, like Sting or the subject of the lead feature, Peter Gabriel, the magazine rolls over and waggles its legs in the air.

The big names on the cover are never what makes a genuinely creative magazine interesting, though. In this case, the revelations are to be found in a section called "Outlands", featuring pieces on Mongolia and Vietnam. These have a strong flavour of the old Actuel magazine. They are also captivating, and convincing, models of how a publication can make good on the promise of multimedia. In the Vietnam feature, for example, observations about France's post-colonial relationship with the country are superimposed on postcards from the colonial era; an emerald-green forest landscape forms the backdrop to slide-shows about Vietnam's ethnic minorities; local music completes the sensory environment.

"Letters from Mongolia" is the piece de resistance. It is organised by the letters of the alphabet, and this points to the secret of the success of both the "Outlands" features. The key is not the subtlety of the graphic framework, nor the seductiveness of the images, nor even the degree to which the whole evokes the sensation of cinema. It lies in the use of words. To greater or lesser degrees, everybody in hypermedia accepts that the awkwardness of reading from screens imposes a constraint on text. Most conclude that they only have space for the superficial or banal; very few think about how to make a few words count.

The solution adopted in the Mongolian diary involves rendering the author transparent. You see through his eyes (the credits indicate his gender), yet Mongolia prevails over the narrator, rather than the other way around. His remarks are sometimes droll, sometimes plain, sometimes personal; but always economical and nicely judged. Multimedia is a question of balance - and balancing the Gobi desert is no mean feat.

Interactive Wave has a Web site at http:// www.lvi-press.com/i-wave

Marek.kohn@mcr1.poptel.org.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions