Se][wo][man.tic.kler on Wed, 17 Apr 2002 21:32:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Review: _][ad][Dressed in a Skin C.ode_

no idea y this didn't get thru to nettime-1....... trying again.......

The Net.Wurk Series _][ad][Dressed in a Skin C.ode_
by Scott Esdaile (c) 2002

How often have you expectantly visited a so called "innovative, new media"  
website with its tags of "highly interactive and engaging content" only to
find that its creator's idea of interactivity is to force-feed the user a
new page of information every time they click a "next page" button? This
is definitely not the case with Australian net artist (net.artist) Mez's
recent venture into the realm of the hypertextual with her
<>_][ad][Dressed in a Skin C.ode_, a
captivating anthology of non-linear literary works distributed through
email lists.

In the creation of texts and poetic forms, Mez utilises her unique
"mezangelle" language which appropriates features of code and programming
syntax then combines these with plays on symbols and language to alter or
enhance meanings. Upon initial contact with "mezangelle," many viewers may
find it unsettling due to its ambiguous punctuation, abstract grammar,
syllabic dissection and the subsequent slowed reading speed. However, once
whatever original discomfort is overcome, the ingenuity of the
"mezangelle"  language as a literary technique or device really starts to
assert itself.  It allows Mez to extend her work beyond the boundaries of
more conventional literary mediums and coaxes the viewer to construct new
meanings for themselves of what it is they're engaging with on screen.

The works (net.wurks) contained within _][ad][Dressed in a Skin C.ode_ can
be viewed as either singular texts, or as enhanced (n.hanced) works which
utilise JavaScript and Flash to extend the user's conceptualisations even
further. Rollovers and segments of audio are also effectively implemented
within these enhanced works, with the sound samples used having at times a
grating, yet organic quality about them which can be quite unnerving.

Originally, the navigation and interface design of _][ad][Dressed in a
Skin C.ode_ may be fairly confusing and unorthodox (particularly the
difficult to read fonts and the directory of enhanced texts, with its
arrays of what appear to be linked buttons), until it is realised that Mez
has not set out to create a site that conforms to usability guidelines and
commercially driven ideologies. This is a site that allows the user
parallel or simultaneous understandings of the content, while instigating
"non-linear and imaginative order" into the vocabulary of electronic

Viewed as one of the most "consistent, prolific and innovative artists
working in new media today," Mez was the recipient of JavaMuseum's Artist
of the Year Award for 2001, the 2001 VIF Prize from Humboldt University,
as well as placed on the shortlist for the 2001 Electronic Literature
Organisation's Fiction Award. Her review of jodi's _untitled-game_ written
in "mezangelle," can be seen
in last month's issue of fineArt forum.

Mez's _][ad][Dressed in a Skin C.ode_ is an excellent example of the
notion of web "spaces" as opposed to web pages and through the use of the
"mezangelle" language system and syntax, it is a highly thought-provoking
and stimulating collection of textual works. Intended to expand and
extract upon a user's perceptions and conceptualisations, these works will
leave you feeling somewhat enlightened and enriched by their required
level of comprehension and engagement.

- Scott Esdaile, fine Arts forum.

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