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  Art on the Web: Bad Means Good
By John Poole
washingtonpost.com Staff
Sunday, November 22, 1998



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"Dialog Box": If computers had feelings . . . (Superbad)
A linked collection of more than 50 Web pages, Superbad (www.superbad.com) defies description. Clever, hilarious, shocking, fun, playful, morose and silly are all adjectives one could use about this collection of digital art. Unhindered by a narrative or any sort of linear progression, you can read Superbad in any way you want.

One way is to try to follow the snippets of text peppered throughout the site. If you're persistent, you'll come across more than one reference to a certain Aunt Viv and her son, the troubled Jay Junior. Aunt Viv writes in a letter to their fictive family: "Jay Junior wasn't trying to take advantage of anyone. . . . The meat that can be returned, will be. The meat that has already gone bad, Jay Junior will pay for out of his own pocket." Such moments epitomize the rollicking bad taste of Superbad.

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Meditation has gone digital in "Om.com." (Superbad)
   
The brainchild of 28-year-old San Francisco-based designer Ben Benjamin, Superbad started life as something called Weird Stuff, linked from Benjamin's online resume and client list. As the work started pouring in, he says, he took down the resume and portfolio and rechristened the site Superbad. It became a creative release. "If I wasn't doing the Web site," says Benjamin, "I'd be doing Xerox collages and posting them all over the city or something."

The text of Superbad is only part of the fun. Each page is its own little interactive puzzle, responding to your mouse's movements and clicks with little flashes of light, roving shapes and flexing muscles. Click around for a while in Superbad and you'll be immersed in a maze of pages and possibilities. For adventurous souls, this is the way to go. But if you desire more guidance, a page called The Trunk provides an unassuming table of contents. From here, you can see which pages you've been to and which you've yet to find – although titles such as Ape, Fall, Accident and Follow can't possibly do justice to the bizarre experiences that await.

www.superbad.com/

   
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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