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Anti-sites are a hot topic in PR circles these days as disaffected culture jammers set up dissident websites to deflate the nice things that big business has to say about itself on the Net.
Multinationals, software companies, pop idols, are all favourite targets for those with a microchip on their shoulder.Yahoo! lists over 1,100 anti-sites, each seething with virtual venom - anti-Britney, anti-Volvo drivers, anti-McDonalds, anti-squirrel, even anti-banana.

The arts industry has always struck me as having more than its fair share of the divinely discontented. So I thought that arts anti-sites might provide a fertile subject for this week?s webwatch. Morale must be better than I thought, however, as I couldn?t turn up dirt on any of our cherished institutions or funding bodies. It?s been instructive trying, though.


Which single organisation might be a good starting point for an anti-site search, I wondered? Actually the much maligned Royal Opera House comes out of the Internet pretty well - a sleek but friendly official site with lots of evidence of worthy community and education work. There are an awful lot of Royal Opera Houses on the net, though - in places as far afield as Malta and New Zealand. They might take a leaf out of the Guggenheim?s book and think about launching an official franchise.

Getting a bit desperate for disparagement, I tried ?Theatre Sucks? as my search term on Google! and found a ?theatre collective striving to provide theatrical experiences that don?t suck?. Fighting stuff this, from Emerald Rain Productions, whose current show Young Zombies In Love sounds worth a shot if you happen to be near Berkeley CA in the next few weeks. I particularly liked the enthusiastic links their website offers to {http:www.ERP.com} and http://www.erp.org - two IT-related organisations who share nothing with the ?erplins? except their initials!

My anti-site hunt was getting nowhere. One last attempt with the eloquent search term ?bad art? brought me, inevitably, to http://www.badart.com - the virtual gallery for connoisseurs of pisspoor painting. It?s not a terribly kind idea, and the thumbnails presented for inspection are about as inviting as a waiter?s in the soup. I don?t imagine there will be too many downloads.

Terry O?Sullivan is Principal Lecturer in Media at Trinity and All Saints College, University of Leeds t: 0113 283 7159
e: {t.o?sullivan@tasc.ac.uk}