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by james hörner

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someone recently commented to me that the internet has increasingly become "like slogging through shit." there is more flash than content, and advertising barrages you at every link. it feels as though all of the original enthusiasm and freedom of being online has disappeared.

and then there was *spark.

what's that you say? not another damned esoteric look at something trivially contemporary, with blurry pictures, and all summed up in 150 words of actual, meaningless, text? well, you don't have to worry about that when you visit the creation of a bunch of canadians and the wallop of monthly articles at the new *spark online magazine.

here are how the heaping helping of 28 or so articles, from authors all over the place, were laid out:

  • media (film, television, on-line)
  • trends (comics, drug culture, education, fashion, health, lifestyles, procreation, publishing)
  • discourse (exploring electronic consciousness, technology&me, mail?, future dream, intimate, immerse)
  • fin de siecle (religion, economics, politics)
  • misc.[ing] (art, short fiction, writing)
for an ezine whose motto reads "exploring electronic consciousness," this is not at all high-falutin material. the articles are well chosen, and certainly do reflect contemporary issues. besides all the reading was a digital gallery - several eye-catching works/films/games done in flash (requires shockwave plugin).

it's a site you can't take in all in one visit. like a new magazine you read bits here and there, picking it up during a spare moment, finding a section that suits your momentary mood.

not quite what i expected - for instance, where you would expect comics in the comics section you instead get a well-written look at "sequential art and media ignorance". at last! seeing actual content online is refreshing.

i must say, though, that by the time i was done ploughing through the october issue i had a throbbing skull from the small typeface. besides that there is nothing to complain about. the colours are pleasing, the design well done. visit *spark-online and have something to read until next month's issue.

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