Monday 26 April 1999
"Bombs, Lies and Videotape" is the suggested alternative title for this online diary from AG, a 34-year old Serbian film-maker living in Belgrade. His personal experience of getting by in a targeted zone is convincingly conveyed as he wanders the city, stands in cigarette queues and surfs the web for news, the boredom and uncertainty punctuated by air-raid sirens . The accompanying clips, made by the Low Fi video group, proved a reluctant download but, seemingly, are reflections of the day-to-day life of people caught up in war. References to Lars Von Trier and his "dogma" movement seem to belong to a different world, though a documentary film festival goes ahead as planned in what he calls "the epicentre of Europe's crisis and bad consciousness". AG - critical of the Milosevic regime and anonymous for his own safety - insists his work is not a simple condemnation of either side.
Marshall Stelzriede's Wartime Story
An aerial navigator with the Eighth Air Force's 96th Heavy Bomber Group posts his own bombing memoirs. Stelzriede was Over Here in 1942-44, and his simply designed but fascinating site displays his wartime journals, for, he says, historical rather than nostalgic reasons. There are accounts of missions to Frankfurt, Bremen and Kiel and of the near-ditching of of his crippled plane on the way back from Saarbrucken, as well as frolics like "buzzing" his Illinois hometown with a B17. His multi-stage, 24-hour flight to the UK via Greenland is intriguing in itself, as are such phenomena as "phantom bombers" - captured planes piloted by the enemy and sneaked into a formation to betray its position - and of the unusually humane arrangements by which each side notified the other of downed aircrew awaiting rescue from the icy sea.
UCR/California Museum of Photography
This site offers a comprehensive series of Kosovo links, which the museum plans to contextualise with archive material of its own. Elsewhere, though, this fascinating image-hoard embraces all uses of the photographic medium, from shots of Ellis Island in 1908 to the latest digital "webworks". There is a collection of antique cameras and of early stereographic images (rendered viewable with the aid of pair of distinctly low-tech red-and-blue specs, orderable from the site or your local cereal packet). One featured artist calls her work "the result of a reciprocal effort between scanner and animal" - chickens, silkworms and a desert iguana are placed (separately) on her flatbed, in a more rigorously theorised version of that notorious scan-your-cat page.
Convergence? Forget it: some corners of the World Wide Web still hate television and all that it stands for. "TV Turnoff Week" is currently under way, so there remains time to reach for that remote and do something useful instead of "staring at a piece of furniture". As well as promoting the worldwide switch-off in the UK, the site joins forces with Privacy International (www.privacy.org/pi) to campaign against the surveillance potential of digital television services. "Jeremy Paxman isn't your friend. And the cast of Brookside and Oprah Winfrey and the girl from Friends with the hair. They don't care whether you live or you die. Why don't you get yourself some real friends?"
16 Color Cinema
Instead of slumping in front of the box, take part in some gloriously dumbed-down film-making of your own at this Shockwave-powered site. This self-proclaimed "tool for procrastination" enables online animations to be created frame by frame. The average length is a few seconds, with matchstick men and smiley faces the dominant "motifs". The overall result makes South Park look like Fantasia.
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