[out of nothing] | 5 | "out of a system declaring nothing out of relevance"

So there is a new issue of [out of nothing] out there in cyberspace. It is issue #5 named "out of a system declaring nothing out of relevance." No links yet, let me explain a bit.

First, [out of nothing] does have a main site that makes logical sense. A list of issues, submission guidelines, the usual. But if you click on any of the issues, things get increasingly complicated from there. Especially in this most recent issue. Let's talk about this most recent issue. Here is a screen shot of the "cover page" of the issue:

It looks like an awkward, messy bastard child of a Google no-match, failed search page. Each time you open the page, it encourages you to search again, this time trying "a more relevant keyword." And each time it suggests a seemingly random word for searching like "hurricane" or "atmosphere" or "dolls." If you click on one of these words, it searches the issue to find instances of the use of this word. You can also put in your own search terms. If you put in the search term "aestas" (which is a kind of subtitle of the issue?), then I think you get a table of contents of the whole issue (mainly because the word "aestas" appears on every page.) I was very pleased when I discovered the useful result of searching for this word. I felt like I had broken the code. :)

And then each of the pages for individual pieces of writing by individual authors is its own strange mix of webpage design. Some of them seem pretty straightforward, like Micah Freeman's page. Often, the writing ends up lurking behind other icons or images or words that you may or may not click on. Like Veronica Gonzalez's page where you have to click on the cut-off page numbers in order to read a clean copy of each page of her text. Or Marcus Civin and Saehee Cho's page, formatted to appear as a Gmail message. Also there are re-purposed Wikipedia pages and Web 1.0 blinking images and intervened Skype videos. You can even copy embed code to embed Amarnath Ravva's (silent) Vimeo video on your own site, like I have:

Vi-ka-ta-ka-vi from [out of nothing] on Vimeo.

All I can say is you better click on everything you can click on or you might just end up missing a lot of material.

[out of nothing] is arming an attack of the difficult webpages.

It's an invitation to interact, to scurry down the rabbit hole. To not take website design for granted or expect websites spoon-fed to you. Most litmags I surf for a few minutes and then move on. But this awkward, difficult design made me push through, it gave me something to think about and struggle through and, as always, there are rewards if you persevere. Find the hidden treasure lost in the Interweb. Surf that shit.

* Update: another great engagement piece with the site is here at Rhizome.org. The unknown author of the text says: "by appropriating and, in some cases, defacing, these "looks and feels" and by making the contents of the journal primarily accessible via a search function, the editors invite their audience to consider what it really means, experientially, to write, read and exist, both physically and virtually, online."

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