The Unreliable DEAF98 Website

Description of the experimental Unreliable DEAF98 website, published in "The Art of the Accident," 1998.

The DEAF98 website not only provides Internet users with detailed information about all parts of the festival. The further they search, the more unreliable the navigation, the more twisted and distorted the route and the information. Parts of texts disappear, links lead to wrong information, images distort.

Festival visitors can also repair (or further disrupt) the site by using special codes which they receive when buying their tickets. With these codes lost information can be retrieved, closed areas become accessible again, or accessible areas closed. Under the influence of the user interaction, the site leads a life of its own.

Belgian artist Danny Devos co-operates with a team of programmers on this project which incorporates ddv's large database of fatal accidents with celebrities, disasters with aircrafts and ferries, murders, etc. The birth(+)fact(x)death(-)calendar is originally a plain calendar; it lists births, facts and deaths, day by day. Devos has been collecting these dates since 1985. He writes:

"It started as just a worthwhile idea when I was working on another project. While collecting data about serial killers and other stuff alike, I discovered that on June 2 both Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and - in another year - writer Donatien Alphonse François de Sade were born, and that Bob Dylan was born on the same day Jeanne d'Arc was burned on the stake. All kinds of strange combinations and possible genetic conspiracy theories popped up, and before I realized it, I crashed into an avalanche of astounding discoveries relating to the collected data on mass murderers and serial killers, artists and writers, scientists and religious leaders, actors and political leaders, and man-made disasters with a minimum of 100 deaths: plane-crashes, train-wreckages, fires, explosions."

The calendar went through multiple media formats, from hand written copy books, through typed magazines and annual calendars, to Commodore 64 text editors and finally a data-base program running on a Macintosh PowerBook.

"In 1997, Alex Adriaansens from V2, probably one of the 13 people who have bought a calendar every year it came out, invited me to put the birth(+)fact(x)death(-)calendar on the V2_website. Through the DEAF Festival website the calendar will be used to interfere with the websurfers' daily lives. Past, present and future are mixed into an informational blend which fills the gap between art and life. The DEAF-site, co-powered by the birth(+)fact(x)death(-)calendar, is an array of facts which will boost your mind with an additional means of perception for enduring 1998 electronic art."

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