Opening the Door to Magic

I have very mixed views about websites like and First of all, let me confess that recently I developed a loose relationship with one of the rooms in after learning that pages in the room had links to some of my web animations. My sole problem was that I wasn't given credit for the animations. When I e-mailed DaVine Layla, the proprietor of the room, about this, she couldn't have been nicer. She not only credited me for the animations, but did so in the kindest fashion. To the extent that I ended up participating (posting material) in her room, I had an entirely positive experience. Such was not the case with When I tried contacting them about one of their pages linking to an animation of mine without giving me credit, I got nothing but a runaround.

However, the problem I have with both and transcends any personal experience and comes down to my philosophy of what I believe the web should be. When the web first came into existence in the early to mid-90s, it offered infinite possibilities for creative folk of all stripes to self-publish/produce their works. To some degree, the web has fulfilled that promise. I honestly believe this website is a prime example of what can be done creatively on the web. But for the most part, the web is not being taken advantage of creatively. Why? Because people won't learn web design, which is where and enter into it by giving an outlet to folks who don't want to bother actually putting together a website. Individuals can post material on and either for free or very cheaply. Yet the thing is, bringing a website online is scarcely expensive. The software involved is quite affordable, as is leasing webspace. Almost certainly the reason most people don't do it is the amount of work involved. and make it easy to post text and imagery. Of course, they remain in charge of formatting.

As a web artist, I believe formatting is extremely important. If a web artist has no control over formatting he/she has no real control over his/her art. and have distinctly different takes on formatting. has more of a stylized bulletin board approach, whereas came up with its unique "friends" approach, which brings me to Kenneth Anger and the subject of magic. I was amused and slightly saddened to discover that Kenneth Anger has a page. I found his page through browsing friends' lists of other pages. No modern artist has harnessed magic so powerfully as Kenneth Anger. Recently I created and posted Channeling Marjorie Cameron, an animation in part sampled from an image in Anger's classic film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Western Culture is fast losing touch with magic. I consider the web to be an ideal medium for exploring magic; yet I also know that magic demands great control on the part of artists wishing to tap it. negates control. and, to a lesser degree,, are controlling entities in and of themselves, aesthetically defining (constricting) the content on their pages.

Opening the Door to Magic, the animation running above, is my humble tribute to Kenneth Anger. It requires a high-speed Internet connection.

© 2006 Peter Schmideg

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