Thursday, August 17, 2006

Film Friends Forever Boat Party

This is just a quick heads up for Londoners that I'll be doing a small gig this Saturday night (August, 19th, 7:45pm-8:30pm) at this mini film festival on the HMS President, organized by some friends/coworkers:
Date: 19th August 2006
Time: 3pm till late
Venue: HMS President, Victoria Embankment EC4Y 0HJ
Admission: £5 before 5, £7 after, invite only, email: for invites.

Summer's here and Film Friends Forever is throwing a daytime boat party on Saturday 19th August on the HMS President. We're celebrating all things sunshine, film, music and food. In keeping with the tradition of our monthly film night at The Parlour in Sketch, the boat party is an opportunity all our friends and their friends to wind down and tantalise your creative senses with ground breaking audio visual work, DJs from renowned labels and cutting edge VJs.

I'll probably mainly be showing older, existing stuff I did with Director, since my more recent Processing pieces are still pretty much in - pieces...

Line up currently includes: Hexstatic, Shelley Parker, Scanone, Stormfield, Abstrakt Knights and a whole bunch of other quality people...

Friday, August 11, 2006

My 12 favourite demos

Often, when asked for my background, I often refer to my teenage days in the Atari demo scene - which is equally often causing raised eyebrows and shrugging shoulders. If you don't know what "demos" are, I recommend reading up on it over at first...

Most of the things and tricks I know about programming I've learned between the age of 13-18, when I and my friends were not so much playing with, but trying to tickle as much weird and wonderful things out of our expensive "power without the price" hardware. Writing demos forced me to engage with and understand topics I and others hated at school, like: geometry, trigonometry, physics, electronics etc. The good thing about that was, that suddenly there was a real-world relationship for all these things, something your average teacher in these subjects often seriously lacked to communicate. For example, understanding Sine and Cosine maybe had the most profund impact on me back then, since it opened the mental doors to experiment with animation, mathematical curves (how do you draw a circle on screen in assembler?), 3D projection, audio synthesis/sampling (my brother then kindly built a 4bit sampler for me, which connected to the atari's joystick port) etc. One thing lead(s) to the other...

My point though is, the demoscene arose as informal and highly competitive platform for creative expressions using software long before the (relatively) recent (re?)current mainstream interest in "computational design/art" (in the widest possible meaning) errupted. The development of algorithms, hacks, the procedural approaches and styles created by sceners have been contributing and driven much of the aesthetics of modern video games in particular, also way before Will Wright's Spore efforts. The competitive environment and elitist culture of this scene has been providing a great nurturing ground for experimentation of computational techniques in many fields, not only graphical/audiovisual. It has been doing so for over 15 years and it also somehow has preserved a somewhat closed world.

So, the reason for this post was another public prompt to point someone to interesting demos. Below is my hastily compiled and highly subjective list

  1. fr-025: The popular demo by Farbrausch
    Nothing but respect for being so dedicated to Kitsch and deliberately taking it to new extremes.

  2. fr-019: Poem to a horse by Farbrausch
    Another Farbrausch quality and milestone production. 64KB of procedural modelling, texturing and pristine audio synthesis. I'm still getting goose bumps when thinking about how effectively Code can be used to express and store that much information as well as emotion in only 65,536 bytes. GIF banners, anyone?

  3. I Feel Like A Computer by Melon Dezign
    Fabulous & quirky 3D pixel graphics with physics, Travolta, King Kong and a Teddy Bear. Great storytelling too!

  4. A Deepness In The Sky by mfx
    This is one of my favourites for creating an absolute exhausting AV synch. Pure hypnosis. Strickly not for Rockers, though! :)

  5. Protozoa by Kewlers
    Quite a few Kewlers productions have great particle effects. This one is one of them. Also a good example of creating complexity purely through good texturing work.

  6. Final Audition by Plastic
    If you want to see the power of modern graphics cards and like metaballs, you'll like this one. Maybe the best (and most) realtime metaballs I've seen.

  7. KKowboy by Blasphemy + Purple
    This one created paradigm shift in the demo scene and gave rise to productions more dedicated to graphic design skills, rather than geekery. From 1998, everything is software rendered.

  8. We Cell by Kewlers
    Another biology inspired production. No mindblowing effects, but overall great flow.

  9. Medium by Einklang
    This is the only demo Einklang ever did. Great AV synch and a major influence to my own Macronaut.

  10. b10 by Zden Satori
    Now this, dear reader, is the PERFECT synesthesia. Every musical element has its own visual counter part. CAUTION: Epilepsy warning!

  11. d796 by Kosmoplovci
    2001 space odysee in black & white. Headphones are adviced and try to watch it all.

  12. Chimera by Halycon
    This production needs you to take some time out. Amazingly simple and stunning ambient visuals. It shouldn't be last in the list, but it is since it's the perfect chillout.