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Star Wars Asciimation

E-mail-style text doodles, boosted by Java, propel this online version of the original Star Wars film. Some may prefer its uniquely economical special effects to those of the latest big-screen instalment. ASCII stands, of course, for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, and its improvised artistic uses go back to the early days when even emoticons were hip. This site may constitute a late flowering of the form - a painstakingly animated frame-by-frame version of Lucas's movie, with Luke, Han, Chewbacca and the rest of the jolly crew embodied by fixed-font dashes, digits, colons and parentheses. The saga begins like the 1977 flick, with a Fox logo and the famous pre-credits crawl, followed by a space battle as thrilling as possible using punctuation points as raw materials. Simon Jansen, a New Zealander seemingly with much time on his hands, has been working on this for a couple of years and has got as far as the destruction of Alderaan. While insisting on finishing the whole film himself, he is willing to let someone else have a go at Return of the Jedi. And not content with simple homage, he has added a mini-movie of his own. Die Jar Jar features the latest cast member, the universally loathed Binks, being gleefully vapourised.

Death of the Father


This intriguing site explores certain academic perspectives on the century's most extreme dicators (Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Tito, Hirohito, Ceausescu) and on what happens after their fall. The result is evocative rather than instructional, with photographs, documents and soundclips juxtaposed in an open-ended way that suggests art as much as sociology. The sometimes gruelling multimedia presentation includes the trial and execution of the Ceausescus but also music by Mozart and Arvo Part. The Cornell University site is concerned with how far the paternal image affects the regimes that follow a tyrant's demise, and various maps, timelines and (soon) videos present possible repeated patterns in what it calls "the movement from trauma to democratic form".

Woodstock 99

Not another one! The 30th anniversary version starts on Friday at an airbase in Rome, New York, with a huge if predictably unstable line-up (Aerosmith are out). Other highlights include all-night raves, an indie film festival and a mobile interactive Jimi Hendrix museum truck called the Red House. The site offers video clips, interviews with such as Dave Matthews and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and well worn recollections from Woodstock '69ers, including David Crosby and Jerry Garcia. Overall, the mood is practical rather than poetic, with details of the $150 ticket and assurances that webcasts at the site will be restricted so as not to detract from the pay-per-view transmission.

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