Future Schlock

LOOT: A free copy of Upside magazine.

LATER THE SAME day: What if the future happened and nobody showed? At the opening night of the jam-packed film funhouse Ret.Inevitable (staged beneath the Brooklyn Bridge), the only empty room is one with computers--the "Absolut Panushka" chamber, a showcase of an online animation software. Last year's "Art in the Anchorage" show in the same space by the same Creative Time group was a stunning example of handsome interactive art. But this year the crowds were in the cinema showcase, transfixed by a future more difficult to comprehend: Sofia Coppola as filmmaker.

The other two digital installations in the exhibition seem caught in recursive loops. Set up in the "e: Res" room (sponsored by the digital-filmmaking magazine Res),the first machine is having an outright seizure. A couple plays with the second terminal, but the woman gets trapped in a mystifying editing interface. Her boyfriend says gently, "Sweetie, I think you broke it."

Omar Wasow, MSNBC pundit and CEO of the scaled-down Web shop New York Online, hangs outside the fray. He's abuzz about the fully functional, 100-CDplayer he nabbed through the new online auction company Onsale.com. "I went in ostensibly to write a story about [onsale.com], but I stuck around," he says. And after a just few minutes of talking, it's apparent that this live rapport is just about the most vital "groupware" we've got. The software and spectacle won't mean much in 20 years, that's for sure. But conversations will continue.

LOOT: Free popcorn.

Signal and Noise

  • 44 Per Cent Online: Riding the coattails of the hugely popular Silicon Alley '98 confab this spring, "cybergrrl" Aliza Sherman (www.cybergrrl.com) hosts her own technology conference "for women, by women," on Thursday, June 25, at the AT&T Auditorium. Though it's not entirely clear just what her company does, the sharp and articulate Sherman herself has become a fixture on the speaking tour circuit. For info about the $90 full-day series check http://www.webgrrls.com/awed.

    E-mail: abunn@villagevoice.com

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