CyberKitsch: Images From 10 Years Ago
I was thumbnailing through an ancient CD-ROM disk tonight, and came upon an extraordinary image of a Web page that I captured back in 1996. I was struck by how remarkably unprincipled the design of this page was; how it gleefully ignored all modern concepts of usability, how its colors clashed and its navigational scheme was a contorted mess, and it occured to me how unusual -- no, make that impossible -- it would be to see a page like this today (you can click on the small image above to see it in its full glory).
This page was a very early experiment in melding text and graphics, and it summons forth much of the anarchic spirit of the pioneering era of the early 1990's, before templates, before Jakob Nielson, before WYSIWIG HTML editors, and before focus groups, "best practices" and Search Engine Optimization. This old page is crude, raw, rude, aggressive, and ready to take on the world, just like we all used to be, at the rosy dawn of the World Wide Web.
I guess that's why I love it.
Ghost Sites wrote about this site almost eight years ago (the original review is enclosed below), and I paid very little attention to its aesthetics. I'm very glad that I saved this site, however, because I've searched long and hard, and it may be the only copy in existence to prove that, once upon a time, being on the Web was actually fun.
Long Live Cyber-Kitsch!
Adam Curry's Metaverse Site
(originally published on Ghost Sites, November 11, 1997)
Remember Adam Curry? Years ago, this disenchanted Video Jock appropriated "mtv.com" from under the news of the snoozing, clueless music conglomerate. For a brief spell, users typing "mtv.com" went straight to Curry, instead of to the home page of the the real MTV. Once MTV woke up, it loaded up a 727 full of lawyers, who hunted Curry down and forced him to relinquish the domain name. The defeated Curry wasn't beaten, however - instead, he became a sort of folk hero after taking on the Evil Empire, and his hipness quotient skyrocketed.
Now, two years later, sections of Curry's "Metaverse" site have grown as rusty as an old Cuban trawler. His Favorite Web Pages area is a dandy preserved in aspic, replete with an ancient broken link to NCSA's "What's New" Page.
Elsewhere on Metaverse, we learn that the site "is on temporary hiatus" -- never an encouraging thing to read on any web site - especially one that used to top the "Hot Sites" lists. But Curry's Cyber-Sleaze - a trashy LA-centric music gossip column - continues to pollute the Web on a daily basis, so I wouldn't count Adam out of the game -- yet.