“GOT PAPERS?”: a new project launched with the aim to digitise and preserve material artefacts of the cracking- and demoscene – digital subcultures from the early era of home computing whose productive output was/is mostly digital and thus rather well-preserved, yet its substantial non-digital output (magazines, flyers, stickers and such) is largely scattered through private collections and thus out of reach for activists and researchers alike. Check out the website at gotpapers.untergrund.net for more info, and if any activists/veterans happen to have any relevant materials that they would like to contribute, please do get in touch through the contact form.
Added Text-Mode and the Live PETSCII Animations of Raquel Meyers – Finding New Meaning through Live Interaction by Leonard J. Paul. The article was published on Leonardo Electronic Almanac in 2013 and it discusses the live character-based performances by Raquel Meyers, also known as AcidT*.
International Journal of Communication has just published another “special section” on piracy. One of the articles, Crack Intros: Piracy, Creativity, and Communication, written by me, Patryk Wasiak and Daniel Botz deals with the origins and characteristics of crack intros.
Added Textual Demoscene (2015) by Piotr Marecki, an online report published by The Trope Tank. The paper focuses on various kinds of text found in Polish demoscene productions.
Usually, George Borzykowski’s 1996 study “The Hacker Demo Scene and Its Cultural Artifacts” is considered the first scholarly treatment of the demoscene as a phenomenon in its own right. However, without questioning the pioneering character of Borzykowski’s work, it appears now that demoscene research is older than assumed. The German sociologists Roland Eckert, Waldemar Vogelsang, Thomas A. Wetzstein, and Rainer Winter conducted a study of “computer freaks” in 1990, and published their results in a collective monograph, “Auf digitalen Pfaden. Die Kulturen von Hackern, Programmierern, Crackern und Spielern”, the following year. In the chapter on the cracking scene, they dedicate several pages on the back-then new phenomenon of intro coders, graphics artists and musicians within pirate groups beginning to care less about the cracked games and more about producing standalone intros and demos. The authors see in this development a potential for a new form of digital art, and they introduce the term “demoscene” as a self-description by the scene’s participants. Read a detailed summary of this forgotten pioneer work in our bibliography.
We’re not going to try and include all piracy-related publications here, because it’s a different sandbox after all. Having said that, the topic is surely interesting to many of our readers, so here’s a link to the brand new issue of Popular Communication (1/2015) with the topic Piracy and Social Change. In addition, just came across a similar “special section” on the International Journal on Communication: Piracy Cultures (find it under “more special sections”).
The School of Media and Audiovisual Culture at University of Lodz will organize a conference with the theme “Behind the Scenes” on 23–24.5.2015. More details and the CfP can be found on their website. This could be a nice opportunity to meet your demo researcher peers in person.
A recent documentary movie on the chipscene: Europe in 8 Bits. Available for purchase as DVD/BD or through a streaming service.
We’ve added a few new (and old) titles/abstracts to our ever-growing bibliography: Two German books on the 1980s cracking scene by Christian Stöcker (2011) and Matthias Horx (1984), a brand new paper on a C64 cracking/importing group from Peru (!) by Eduardo Marisca (2013), and a recent book chapter on games circulation in late-socialist Czechoslovakia by Jaroslav Švelch from 2010. Many more titles, especially from the early years, are in the pipeline – however, we always look for more additions! If you spot any relevant publications that are not included, please do contact us.
Quite an extraordinary discovery this time: a Brazilian paper on demos by Emmanoel Ferreira and Abel Duarte, published at the VIII Simpósio Nacional da ABCiber (2014). The first ever demo article I’ve seen in Portuguese.