webwork 5

by Markus Krämer (Netherlands), 2001

Vogelterror This is a site about Bird. He is the most evil bird in the universe.

He looks really sweet, but he has the interesting hobby of killing other people. He doesn't even get paid for it, so he is doing it all just for fun. He's had a not-so-easy youth (his mother was a slut and his father had a drinking problem), so obviously that's why he became such a nasty guy.

Thus does the peculiar world of Vogelterror - or "bird" terror - greet the visitor. Here is a world that is at once joyous and colourful, bloody and cruel, childish, playful, brutish, and mean. Gratuitous violence can and does erupt at any time: on a stroll through the park, on a factory assembly line, among extraterrestrials in outer space, in a circus actů Provocative simply for the pleasure of it, Vogelterror can nevertheless seem strangely liberating.

After clicking through the cover page, the viewer is offered five little Flash movies, one for each day of the week, Monday through Friday. These movies' aesthetic lies somewhere between cartoons and video games: the drawing is raw, the colours vivid, the action - and interaction - simplistic and brutal. Blood gushes everywhere, amid eruptions of vomit.

As a bonus, visitors can play "Memory of Violence," based on the well-known card game in which one must turn cards over in pairs while remembering their location until all matching pairs are eliminated. When the visitor has paired the right cards, the illustration is expanded into a mini-movie in the centre. This one's about as violent as the others - a car enters a barn and then explodes; a tourist is cooked and eaten by a cannibal; a character loses ears, eyes, nose, mouth, all replaced by bleeding wounds; another is set on fire; a diver squashes himself on concrete; and so on.

So, is this work crass and vulgar? Most certainly. But also ironic, of course, as the introductory text attests: the violence is indeed "gratuitous," as the bird has not been "paid" for it. Its violence is like that of a children's puppet or Punch-and-Judy show, a resemblance further reinforced by the movie's reduced dimensions on the computer screen. The Web is certainly a small theatre of the intimate here, a magic lantern of fantasies: Vogelterror presents - and allows for - the fulfillment of typical sadistic infantile fantasies: dismemberment, ingurgitation, splatter, etc. By its very amorality - no bad guys punished, nor good ones rewarded - this work resembles that of a child (as opposed to a work for children), of the polymorphic pervert, in Freud's appellation. And isn't that precisely what makes Vogelterror so strangely uncanny and enjoyable at once?

Anne-Marie Boisvert
Translated from French by Ron Ross


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