Unlike many who claim kinship through avant pop, Kathy Acker created narrators and main characters who always convicted themselves. They didn't separate themselves from the weaknesses or foibles of society. Her awesome sense of responsibility was often read as masochism. Satire and parody have dominated the web. Kathy's death marks the end of this trend. When something's been done well, it's been done. Women must lead out of the morass of mockery. Too long we've endured adolescent snickering and finger pointing. Accusation can never define literature and art.

Acker wrote with authenticity. She was a mature person with deep emotions. Commerce and the will to power—common motivators in contemporary web art—weren't Kathy's driving force. Her greatest gifts had nothing to do with punk culture or rhetoric, but rather with formal innovation and freewheeling honesty. These two things carry. Always have and always will.

Mary-Anne Breeze, aka mez, from Australia, has a fresh voice and exciting web pages. There are many paths to heaven/freedom. Some women take the tough girl route. The danger is in becoming as ruthless as the oppressor. With Mary-Anne, I feel the balance is taut. Her human sensibility can be tender or brutal. The tension there doesn't scare me. What does are the many websites that I call brain-genital. No heart or any other organs were involved in creation.

One of the biggest problems with current web art is lack of emotional investment. Women must lead in the rediscovery of discernment, emotional depth, aesthetic expression and responsibility for change.


Christy Sheffield Sanford won The Well's 1998 prize for the Best Hyperlinked Work on the Web and the 1999 trAce Nottingham Trent Virtual Writer-in-Residence Competition. Her work has appeared at numerous electronic magazine and project sites including Light and Dust, Enterzone, The Little Magazine, Salt Hill, Acorn Mush, and Mother Millennia. She has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and seven other grants including two NEA-Rockefeller supported awards for New Forms. She is the author of seven books including Only the Nude Can Redeem the Landscape and Italian Smoking Piece. Sanford's site was recently hotlisted by N. Katherine Hayles in ArtForum.