SXSW Web Awards
The Annotated List
By Kim Mellen, Fri., March 16, 2001
Redesign/Relaunch: Hotel San José
The bright retro-modern feel of the South Congress ex-motor court is captured by its online representative. The simple and clever navigation takes you through the San José and offers reservations online.
Web Application/Internet Technology: Continental Harmony
This PBS project is just one part of an effort to bring "composers and communities together to create new music that reflects their history, culture and hopes for the future." Click on "Sound Lounge" for lessons on the composing process, lullabies from around the world, American roots music, and more. Geared toward kids, it provides an inspiring glimpse into how the Web can be used as a teaching tool.
You anti-Macromedia crusaders, take note: The Devil uses Flash. And lots of it. He also takes your ideas for T-shirt designs, sews "666" onto the sleeve, sells them, and keeps the profits. Evil!
Design: design history in a box
A crash course in design history using an oreo cookie, a flock of birds, a wristwatch, and the moon.
Unique Interface: Wanzer Munizza Design Studio
This Seattle interior design and architectural studio uses a hallway metaphor for its navigation. Use your mouse to whiz through the corridors, each ending in brilliantly colored nature photos with information on the company's projects and philosophy.
Weblog: Who Would Buy That?
You've heard of people selling their kidneys, virginity, and children on eBay. This collaborative Weblog offers a continuously updated collection of equally weird, but often perfectly legal, "auction oddities from all over the Web." A recent contribution: an antelope butt crafted into an owl's head.
Kevin Fox hooked up ELIZA, the famous shrink-simulating program, with the ubiquitous AOL Instant Messenger so that strangers attempting a chat with Fox get a surreal session on the couch instead. Fox posts five new transcripts every Thursday.
Music Industry: Classic Motown
The milestones of Motown -- from Barry Gordy's founding of the record label in 1959 to his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all the artists in between -- are celebrated in this interactive timeline.
It's your typical time-wasting gaming site with a sardonic twist: Along with familiar Breakout!-like diversions are surprises like quizzes that test whether or not you're a capitalist pig. The site is worth a visit for "Curious G.W.," in which you match up our president's visage with monkeys bearing similar expressions.
Film/Film Industry: Shortspan Theater
Shortspan is short for "short attention span," ha ha, and the site is a repository for hundreds of short films, categorized into genres including animation, experimental, documentary, political/activist, and even PSAs and trailers.
Streaming Video: Neurotrash
Police and surveillance videos, extreme sports, parodies, shorts, and all manner of cinematic nuggets "not coming soon to a theatre near you."
Online Education Resource: iKnowthat.com
Even adults will get that new-box-of-crayons excitement at this kids' site, featuring an interactive sticker album that morphs into a little theatre, a sort of Web-based Photoshop for the Underoos set, and lessons in the three Rs that award merit badge-like certificates upon completion.
Content/E-Zine: The White Shoe Irregular
Like Dave Eggers' McSweeneys.net enterprise, this wry webzine takes things like overheard conversations, notices posted to bulletin boards, and highlights from the Congressional record and presents them unadorned, creating small treasures from this everyday effluvia. Other archived features include poetry, prose, and translations.
Developer's Resource: Linkdup
This vast database of Web site reviews keeps you up on the latest technologies, standards, and design practices.
Online Community: WebWhite&Blue
"Rolling cyber debate" just didn't catch the American imagination the way "hanging chads" did. Too bad. This portal site was responsible for the first-ever online presidential debates, wherein six of the candidates (only Nader was missing) answered daily questions submitted by site visitors.
High Bandwidth: Unwrapped, the Mysterious World of Mummies
With more and more people getting high-speed connections, it's no longer a mortal sin to use as much bandwidth as you want on your site. It's rare, however, to see this power used with purpose. An exception is the Learning Channel's interactive documentary on mummies -- every eerie, intense byte contributes to the viewing experience.
An archive of cemetery and gravestone photography. We can only speculate what it means when not one but two death-themed sites capture awards (see High Bandwidth site).
The introduction to this studio site is an impressionistic fantasia of primary color scribbles set to tango music by Astor Piazzolla. Studio One's portfolio includes hokey-fun interactives for kids and more mature work for entertainment and corporate sites.
Streaming Audio: SLAM Media
"SLAM Media is broadcasting live from the far side of a strange fever dream," reads this Seattle-based entertainment site's manifesto. SLAM serves up video, audio, literature, and artwork, and shares ad revenue with the featured artists.
GRRL Site: PlanetKiki
Sure, there's the fashion, fortune, and film reviews. But what makes "Planet Kiki: A Freak of Science!" stand out (other than its design) is the ample opportunities for girls to publish their writing online.
Personal/Online Diary: .::Granato v.1:.
The soothing layout of Samuel Granato's online diary betrays the author's background; he is currently seeking a design degree at UT-Arlington.
Artist/Band Site: The Promise Ring
Tour diary meets online diary in a savvy self-promotion site from this four-man band, whose music is described as "sincere, emotionally direct, and -- goshdarnit -- just plain nice."
People's Choice Award: oFF-rAMP gALLERY
A virtual gallery showing works by mostly young, mostly contemporary, mostly Brooklyn-based artists.
Art/Culture AND Best of Show: Xhibition Transition
Subtitled "The Convergence of Urban Art and Pop Culture," this site offers artists' interviews, studio tours, and more.
Kim Mellen is sad that Giantheads.com didn't win anything. Giantheads.com rules!