Mark Devaliant Website Review: Dr. Hugo Heyrman / Museums of the Mind

Museums of the Mind is a website expounding the merits of internet art and highlighting the work of Dr. Hugo Heyrman. Classically educated in a variety of doctrines he is purported to be a pioneer in net based art and an avant-garde artist with film and video experiments.

The website is quite logically set out. Reading much as the page of a book it begins with titles and breaks the contents of the site into categories. Looking like nothing so much as the Contents page in a 'book' the categories are links to their particular subject matter. The title page is blissfully free of banners and annoying advertising, perhaps due mostly to the fact that this website is not a commercial, or site. The background draws the eye, it is an interesting pictorial presentation of the brain, but does not detract from or interrupt the information being presented.

The site makes good use of hypertext, in theory. From the homepage it is possible to link to any other page within the site. That however is about the extent of it. For the most part each link leads to an individual page that, while informative, is an end unto itself. There is little linking to other sources or sites in the Internet. This may have been a good opportunity to incorporate the efforts of other such artists and thereby gain further recognition in return however, this was not the chosen path. In terms of information superhighways, this site would be best thought of as suburbia; plenty of cul-de-sacs and dead ends but few through roads and certainly no expressways.

The information contained in the site is visually excellent, thought provoking and quite probably idiosyncratic of its creator. User interactive vignettes of plausible dream scenarios play out in 'FUZZY DREAMZ'. Created in a 'film noire' style and combining repetitive sounds and images they seek to simulate "memory processes of the dreaming brain." The main page also has a section seemingly dedicated to reviews by third persons, of the website. While sounding a little self-congratulatory these reviews do offer insight and perhaps a different way of looking at the site as a whole.

Brain Zone 3 begins to show us the actual nature of net art. There are two sections detailing hemispheres of the brain and the functions they perform for us. While not overly elaborate, they are interactive and amusing. For a more detailed image one could perhaps look to the University of California. The site continues with more net art and includes a brief genesis of net-based artwork and a short catalog of artists appearing in the first virtual gallery of digital art. There are sections covering the methods by which Dr. Hugo is trying to spread the word on his work. There are brief essays on new ways of thinking about art work on the net. There is an excellent page with a large number of links to sites all over the web on net-based art, virtual projects and synesthesia. The site closes with a biographic piece on Dr. Hugo.

This website is a credit to Dr. Hugo. Marvelously conceived it is beautifully simplistic, aesthetically intriguing and masterful in its presentation of the subject matter. As a portal, from his links page, it provides bountiful opportunity to peruse related works and similar projects or just other sites of interest. Relying more on content than on gimmickry Dr. Hugo illustrates with great alacrity how art work not only maintains its integrity in the Internet but gains a foothold in the 21st Century.

Dr. Winkle
Florida, February 2003