A Short History of Hardcore Chipmusic

March 9, 2014

This post is an attempt to save some of the history of the harder kinds of chipmusic, before all of us forget what happened. Please comment or get in touch with corrections and more suggestions. This post will be continuously updated thanks to people like Alex Yabsley, Peter Swimm, Takashi Kawano, Abortifacient, Ant1, Nordloef, C-men, Rioteer, and … you?

Glenn Rune Gallefoss' C64

Those who think that chipmusic is cute and innocent will be surprised to know that there are thousands of evil, rough and hard chiptunes around. In fact, what we call breakcore today developed in the mid 00’s by using the same tools as chipmusic had done a few years earlier: amiga trackers.

In the mid 90s, the hardcore 4×4-pounding of gabber slowly evolved to a slightly more, uhm, “mature” genre. This evolution, I’ve been told, was driven forward by the Australian Bloody Fist label. Many of their artists worked with Protracker on Amiga. The label manager Mark (aka Nasenbluten) told me that they made 20 releases during 1994-2004 that were more or less only made on Amiga (see timeline).

The Amiga was likely used because it was affordable and available, reasonably portable, and also very sturdy. So it wasn’t only Bloody Fist who did this. I did it too, although there wasn’t exactly much interest for it. Elsewhere in in Europe the labels Fischkopf, Fifth Era and Digital Hardcore put out plenty of amiga hardcore with artists such as Patric Catani and Cristoph de Babalon. In USA, Milwaukee seems to have had a big Amiga following with eg Davros and Unibomber, later followed up by Dispyz who is now running Radio Graffiti that puts out plenty of hardcore Amiga music.

This music is sometimes called amigacore. This is not just a geek term – I saw it used in a record shop just a few years ago. It seems to be characterized by a raw and unedited sound, and isn’t necessarily made on Amiga. Remember, it was during the 90s that sample chopping and VST-wankery became popular, so this formed a sort of anti-thesis to that.

But in fact, the choppers and wankers of IDM wasn’t so far away from amigacore as you may think. Chopping and wanking had been done for years with trackers. And trackers are still well-suited to mess around with samples and create intricate beats by easily assigning effects to individual trigs and so on. Famous breakcore artists like DJ Scud and Venetian Snares seem to have started on Amiga, though I’ve yet to confirm this. But many famous IDM-artists started with trackers, such as Bogdan Raczynski, Brothomstates and Machinedrum.

After the 90s boom of amigacore, the next 8-bit hardcore booms came along with the growing hype of chipmusic. In the mid 00’s, gazillions of artists started to mix chipsounds and breakcore. My impression is that chipbreak often uses quite poppy and even trancey harmonies, along with amen breaks. I was doing quite a lot of this too at the time, and I really enjoyed the combination of happy & hard, like in Comsten. But I think Sabrepulse (UK), Saskrotch (USA) and possibly Bit Shifter (USA) were the biggest names in this field, and later maybe IAYD (USA)?. Tons of other artists worked in high tempos, such as Paza & Psilodump (SE), David Sugar aka Logic Bomb (UK), Divag and Computertruck (FR), Dorothy’s Magic Bag (SE), USK & Maru & BSK (JP), Jellica  & his Kittenrock label (UK), Eat Rabbit (FR) and Uoki Toki & 777 minus 111 (RU).

In tandem to chipbreak, others worked with darker atmospheres, sometimes bordering to noise and rock. Overthruster and Timeheater from USA seemed pretty outstanding at the time, and were also aggressively anti towards the more lightsided chiptunery. :|krew was an early-2000s group including Overthruster & Starpause. The mp3death-labelmaintained by Starpause, also put out plenty of evilry, as did 8CYLINDER. Baseck (MP3), though operating a bit outside the chipscene, put out plenty of good stuff too. American artists like Shitbird, Stagediver, CCDM, Kool Skull, WizwarsYatagarasuNarwhalz of SoundWet Mango & the label Datathrash continued to work in this field. 

In Europe there’s plenty of rave/noise/breakcore/gabber-disco people like Mobb Beep (DK), DJ Scotch Egg (UK), Next Life (NO), Gijs Gieskes (NL), Huoratron (FI), Dr Von Pnok & Zombectro (FR),  Hexadeci (UK), Kodek (LV), Distortled Box (ES) Lo-Bat (BE), Rioteer (NL), Unas (FR), and the French label Chip’n’Damned released some good stuff. Japan also had many artists, but right now I can only think of Aonami and Hizmi (and the rest of Ground Zero). Also check Kizan518. In South America I remember Una niña malvada used to get some pretty harsh stuff out there, and now Yz Yx is delivering some new goods.

Australia has continued to deliver the goods ever since Bloody Fist years. Ten Thousand Free Men and Their Families and Godinpants with a taste of punk rock, Abortifacient, Peaches the Wale… The Thematics Radio had tracker specials with lots of the aussie low-res hardcore, including links to mod and xm-files – check here.

Ok, that’ll have to be enough for now. Feeling pissed off that X wasn’t mentioned? Please help me to document this history by making a comment or get in touch.
Update: ()

New Documentary on Chipmusic: Europe In 8 Bits

March 2, 2014

Europe in 8 Bits is perhaps the most ambitious chipmusic documentary to date. It has good cinematography and editing. It features people from most parts of Europe (I think they made something like 100 interviews). And it shows off both famous and unknown people from the chipscene, including an unusual appearance from the Nanoloop author, Oliver Wittchow.

I recommend you to see it for three reasons. First, it captures the generational shift that’s going on in the chipscene right now. New people, new styles, new approaches. To be honest, there are many aritsts in the documentary that I haven’t heard about before. A good thing! Secondly, I think that enough time has passed to start to make sense of what actually happened in the 00’s. This documentary has a very different feel compared to for example 8 Bit Generation (see below), that tried to capture something during its formative years. It usually takes a decade or so to be able to describe and contextualize what a subculture is and does. There’s more room for reflection. Thirdly, I think that Europe in 8 Bits captures the diversity of the scene. It’s not too arty-farty or party-party, not to geeky and not to philosophical. It’s somewhere inbetween. You get a bit of nostalgia, hacking, dumpster diving, DIY, games, etc.

There are now four main documentaries on chipmuic. Except for Europe in 8 Bits (2014), it’s 8 Bit Generation (2006), 8 BIT (2006) and Reformat the Planet (2008). Since some of them are pretty much impossible to come by, I thought I’d give a quick subjective summary of each ot them here (eventhough it’s been 8 years since I saw some of them).

8 Bit Generation (Lionel Brouet) was made in France and I think I saw it on some micromusic event in the south of France. I was interviewed for it when I played in Paris in 2005. It features Role Model, Bodenständig 2000, Manou, me, Relax Beat, Malcolm McLaren and, I can only assume, plenty of French micromusic artists as that movement was quite strong. Paris_HQ yeah! But anyway, as far as I can remember this documentary relied heavily on McLaren to contextualize chipmusic as a sort of punky fringe of techno-pop culture.

8 BIT (Marcin Ramocki). I saw this at the first Blip Festival in New York in 2006. It’s about how videogames has influenced art & culture and it includes a big focus on chipmusic. Ramocki is a media scholar, so there’s lots of philosophical discussions, often following a marxist tradition of appropriating commodities. I remember this as being very good, but unfortunately it was never released to the public. Rumours say it’s because of licensing problems with some huge artist, but I don’t know. 8 BIT featured people like like Nullsleep, Role Model, Cory Arcangel, Bit Shifter, Glomag, Bubblyfish, Teamtendo, Bodenständig 2000, Treewave, Gameboyz Orchestra, etc. I didn’t contribute anything to 8 BIT.

Reformat the Planet (2 Player Productions) is a documentation of Blip Festival, the New York chipscene and the artists engaged there. 2PP had recorded several Blip festivals, and did a good job in explaining the recent history that made that happen. They asked me to write a more in-depth history with some reflections on how to define chipmusic, which I did. It dawned on me, however, that the American history of chipmusic is quite different from the European one. Which is yet another reason that Europe in 8 Bits is a good idea. Anyway, Reformat the Planet features artists such as Peter Swimm, Tristan Perich, Aonami, Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, Mark DeNardo, noteNdo and Random.

 

Soundchips as Modular Synthesizers

January 16, 2014

I recently found the SID Guts rack, which turns the SID into a rack unit for modular composing. It seems to be really interesting to work with, and follows in the footsteps of eg POKEY.synth and myriads of DIY-projects. Long before that there was the Sidstation that made commercial synthesizers from the SID-chip. We’ll probably see more of this in the future, seeing that modular synthesizers is getting popular again.

So far, these platforms lack features (and bugs) that you get when working with these chips on a computer. With the original setups you could do multi-speed, sample playback, new waveforms, etc. To put it differently: you can’t use these systems to play the original chipmusic files, which rely heavily on various software trickeries.

Good riddance, maybe. To me, these rack units detach the soundchips from a context that has been tormenting them for decades: cheap and simple, nostalgic and videogamey, and used more for “programming than playing”, if you know what I mean.

Working with modular units means that you can have sounds/electricity affect eachother in complex setups. This is something that trackers are really bad at, because they work according to a linear logic, from top to bottom or vice versa. With these new machines, you can work in a more chaotic way, setting up systems that will play new music forever.

Or you know, “music”. Of course, it often turns into noise/drone/ambient which is a lot more introvert than the dance/pop aesthetics of the chip- and demoscenes. It seems to come with the territory. But anyway. These new gadget show two things that I think is important:

1. Soundchips are not as different from synthesizers as many people think. In fact, some of the early “synth music” like Cindy Electronium (1959) sounds very much like chipmusic. But in the 1990s these sounds were hi-jacked by 8-bit references, instead of being called analogue.

2. Even if you can technically make “any music” with a computer+soundchip+tracker, the music made with the rack interfaces are very different. For one, the cultural contexts crave for different music. The chipscene has been pretty obsessed with dance music, and modular synth geeks are … not. Secondly, the interfaces affect the way you compose. Trackers influence you to make music in certain ways. And I think this is an important point, which I was reaching for in my thesis. But if you want to make music, it might be a good idea to stay away from that topic…

More Networks, Less Internet?

January 3, 2014

When I started this blog 6 years ago, the internet was still a poster boy for freedom. Anyone could publish or access anything, anywhere, anytime. We were all pretty amazed by how “far” we had come. Surfing the waves of neoliberal postermodernism, we celebrated the right of individual freedom online, free from physical constraints. Free knowledge for all! We were all living the American dream. Or something.

So, at that time, it seemed almost irrelevant to talk about other networks for communication. Even so, I was writing a paper on the Amiga music scene in the 1990s, and what it could teach us about the future of copyright and distribution. Amiga musicians formed a teenage folk culture that effectively worked outside of the “music industry” and its long arms of the law.

While this seemed more like a historical curiosity at the time, these issues are now becoming relevant again. We’re starting to question “the internet” again, although our behaviours are still pretty much the same. We silently agree to mass surveillance by continuing to use platforms infected by spyware and backdoors, through infrastructure that analyzes and profits from that information.

I’m not sure we should be surprised. Maybe we should be more surprised that we had this “digital wild west” in the first place. I mean, we were able to reach billions of people at almost no cost at all, with very little control from corporate or public institutions. Is that a realistic situation? Well, for companies that work with “personlized content” and authorities who need to “fight terrorism”, or stock market bots that predict the future, it’s most definitely not.

In 2006 Alexander Galloway wrote that the internet was always about control, and not freedom. I assume that there’s more understanding for that statement today, compared to 8 years ago when YouTube was all the rage. Not only because of all the surveillance scandals, but because of an increased interest in net politics and new materialism. There is a need to understand the technology and the politics, to deal with things like net neutrality, hobby surveillance, drones, censorship algorithms, bots, IP, spam, etc. 

Many recent attempts at creating alternative networks have not been so successful (as in big). But there’s been many successful attempts in the past, and I for one would love to read more about it. So I’m glad that Lori Emerson is writing a book on other networks, and that Kevin Driscoll is writing a dissertation on hobbyist networks 1977-1997. And I know that Jörgen Skågeby is doing interesting work on software distribution with cassettes.

There is probably a lot more out there. But most of the research done in this field has been made by enthusiasts so far. They usually get the details right, but lack a certain critical distance. It often gets retro-romantic rather than future-fantastic. But these old networks can be an inspiration for the future!

Just look at the Amiga music scene. They used open file formats, free distribution, a distributed informal copyright system, and its own kind of infrastructure combining bulletin boards and postal mail. It was a small-scale network of like-minded people with no worries about big business hindering your work. It wouldn’t surprise me if such networks became more common again.

So, here’s to a 2014 full of BBS theory, Fidonet history, real sharing economies, low-tech infrastructures and platform politics. Bring it on!

About My Demoscene Talk at Øredev

November 18, 2013

Last week I made a presentation about the demoscene at the developer conference Øredev. Before the talk I did an improvised C64 ambient dinner performance – where I just start the software and do everything from scratch, and show the screen to the audience. (see image)

by emiebot @ flickr

Photo by Emiebot

The theme of the conference was art, so my talk was more or less “demoscene vs art”. I argued that the scene and the art world are fundamentally different. The themes of 1960’s computer art might be similar to the scene: moving graphics, sound, code, making “new” thing with technology, networked communications, etcetera. But today the scene and the art world basically doesn’t overlap at all.

The scene competes with skills by making works that you go WOW!LOL!WTF! the first time you see it. The execution is more important than the concept, which connects to scene to craft rather than art. I’ve emphasized this since 2008, because it’s one of the most defining traits of the scene imo.

I talked about the years around 2000 when 8-bit works started to appear in the art world. Usually that was in the shape of glitch (Jodi), chipmusic (micromusic.net, Nanoloop), ASCII art (Vuk Cosic),  circuit bending (Notendo), videogames (Cory Arcangel). Sceners were not involved in this, and some of them (including me) were annoyed with the lame execution. “Hey, it’s not eliteeeee!”.

Photo by Codepo8

Photo by Codepo8

So… then I went on to talk about why I started to move towards the art world myself. We played HT Gold, which didn’t really work in the scene because it’s full of trash. I showed demos that doesn’t work in the art world (ie, most of them). And I showed Dansa In which I think is the first time I’ve worked with something that worked both as “art” and “demo”.
Nevertheless, I discussed the possibilities of scene-style coding playing a bigger role in the art world in the future. Doing things for www, smartphones and microcontrollers could surely use some of the über-rationalistic yet trial-and-error-craziness that sceners are so good at. Efficient use of the hardware, of course, will become more important if digital art goes monumental but wants to not waste more resources than necessary.
Finally, I mentioned three cultural traits of the scene that could/should have a bigger influence:
Distribution is always free in the scene, and they developed a sort of DIY infrastructure for that. There was an international network established already in the 1980s, using both telecommunications and postal mail. Distribution was hard work by dedicated traders, swappers and sysops who copied software around the world. I was always fascinated by this, and we’re once again seeing the need for this with the recent waves of censorship, surveillance and control.
Copyright remains an infected issue in the scene, despite (or because of) the normalization of free distribution, and its close ties with the cracking scene. Amiga MOD-music is my favourite example, where composers sampled sounds from records and basically claimed ownership of them. “Don’t rip my samples!” was a common statement. In the scene, it is always better to do it yourself, rather than building on someone else’s work. It doesn’t want to be a remix culture.
If someone was “stealing” they would be shamed in public (diskmags, parties, bulletin boards) so they lost their reputation. We could, perhaps, compare this to how Timbaland was attacked by “an angry nerd army” when he sampled Tempest’s chiptune. To me, this seems like a much more modern way than to have a court decide which methods are okay, and which are not. But yeah, it will probably take some decades before we go back to that behaviour.
Formats. Distributing most things as real-time programs instead of recordings, leads to a treasure for future historians. The massive online archives means that the demoscene is one of the most well-preserved subcultures so far. Imagine what we can do with all that data in the future! It’s like cultural analytics done on “open source” artefacts – or even better. Also, this puts some demands on the platforms. They need to support wild methods and low-level trickeries, not punish them. Strictly enforced license agreements embedded in the hardware (“if you try something funny, your gadget will blow up and call the police”) or underlying mega-protected systems are not really the future, from this point of view.
Finally: I know the few sceners that were in the audience were disappointed that I didn’t show many traditional demos. That wasn’t really the point with the presentation, which I probably should have made more clear. The idea was to discuss the scene from the perspective of art and highlight its advantages and disadvantages. Also – I showed many of my own works because I was asked to, and because I have worked many years in that grey semi-desertic area inbetween art and demoscene.

► Animal Romantics

November 1, 2013

Animal Romantics (slightly NSFW) is an audiovisual maxi single. Or music disk. Or … internet multimedia? Demo? Net art? Whatever you want to call it – this is 7 songs with synchronized visuals in Javascript and PETSCII. The music, text & visuals blend together to describe the construction of a lady, who has romantic dreams about monkeys.

You can even insert your own text and get a custom link to insult your friends with! Made by Raquel Meyersevilpaul and Goto80 for the pl41nt3xt pavilion @ Wrong Biennale and Chipflip.

animal_450

The song comes in one slow disco version and a faster vocoder pop version. They have been remixed by Limonious (the grand father of skweee), Steve (UK’s new king of FM-swing), The Toilet & Ljudit Andersson from the very underrated Mutantswing label, and finally a version from the don of Amiga disco, Dr. Vector. The whole thing runs in evilpaul’s text-mode Javascript library.

► PRESS PLAY

Works on most browsers, as long as you have a normal keyboard (hello mobile world).

Stop Laughing About Ministry of Sound

September 5, 2013

There’s been some recent bashing of Minstry of Sound, a British label that makes music compilations. They have sued Spotify for not taking down their users’ playlists that are copied from their compilations. I think this is fascinating, and I don’t share the critique that they’ve received around the web.

I don’t know MoS very well at all. But let’s assume that they spend shitloads of time to make these compilations. Keeping up with trends, upcoming artists, getting to know the right people, know their audience, and so on. It’s a bit similar to how a DJ works. Or a newspaper. Or a professional blog. Or any other job that requires you to assemble things together rather than creating something from scratch. Some would say that everything works like that now. “Creativity”, they say, is the basis of everything – not just art, music and design but business, science, personal relationships, sports, health, etc into infinity. You have to be creative!!!

I once talked to an artist who exhibits his own works, but also makes presentations about his field of art. He said that it took a lot more work to do the presentations, than to make the exhibitions. Finding the works that you want to present is the first step, but then you have to put them together in a way that makes sense. For him it was clear that this is worth more (money) than his own works are. It also makes me think of the times when a book review has been better than the book itself.

Most people might disagree, because content is considered as sacred. Content creators must be protected by complex bureaucracy so that they can make money. But times are changing. Curators, organizers and DJs make more money than the people who create the content. Good or bad? That’s not the point. It’s a growing tendency that we need to consider.

 

From this point of view, it makes sense for Ministry of Sound to protect their work. Now I don’t really know their compilations, but spontaneously I feel like what they do is more important than what composers and artists do. I guess most people would disagree, but in my world music creators are spammers hehe.

The last year I’ve put vast amounts of time and energy into research for text-mode.tumblr.com that I run with Raquel Meyers. I have found plenty of other tumblrs who scan images from obscure old publications, and make them available with info, links, credits, context, etc. It’s really important and useful work, and it’s usually more interesting than following some music d00d or artist that only talks about themselves. Or a reblogger that has reduced him/herself to a distribution machine.

I really value the work of researchers, curators, compilers and compressors (??), reviewers, etc. Sure, the legal action from Ministry of Sound is absurd. But it’s no more absurd than the copyright industry who is currently fighting to incorporate streams, links and mentions into their business model. And that’s just about control and repression that puts money into lazy pockets. It has nothing to do with helping artists or audiences.

Anyway. Ministry of Sound probably sucks.

A Fluxus Tracker from 1961 (sort of)

September 2, 2013

tumblr_mrq30wWhnl1qbrhlco1_1280

In a previous post I suggested that a print-out by Lejaren Hiller as the first example of a tracker. Now I came across another interesting example, which appeared even earlier.

Music for Piano No. 7 was made by Toshi Ichiyanagi (Fluxus) in 1961.The instructions are arranged vertically instead of horizontally, just like in a tracker. And it could also be seen as a text-mode representation. While trackers normally only use the alphanumerical parts of the charset in its notation, this utilizes the other symbols of the charset. Just like I did in Remote Control Music Studio.

I think this is interesting as an odd proto-tracker. But the other isntances from this series are not as text-modey and seem to work with both horizontal and vertical organization. So, it’s not a spot-on example. But still. I wanted to have it here for future reference. So please enjoy responsibly.

Teletext Art – An Overview

August 16, 2013

If you describe teletext as obsolete, you couldn’t be more wrong. It is one of the most popular media in Scandinavia. Here in Sweden for example, teletext is still the #1 public service medium, and commercial channels still sell plenty of advertising for it. Despite public service serving people with decent content on tv and www, most of us can not stay away from teletext. It remains the #1 public service medium in Sweden, and in 2011 it was also the most popular app for the iPad, and the third most popular iPhone-app. Stick it to the hi-res man!

And you’re thinking: omg wtf lol why? I’m not sure. But it’s not due to a lack of fast internet. The access to high speed broadband internet is high around here, which indicates that “internet” is not a competitor to teletext. Teletext was not replaced by www, because the hi-res spam freedom of the web is no match for the editorial no-bullshit-no-advertising tranquility of teletext. Atleast not for the time being.

bbctest_animated

Now when that’s clear, let’s turn to teletext art. If context is what defines art, then teletext art is a quite recent thing. Early examples include works by Maki Ueda (Dutch TV, 2000), Jodi’s noisy Teletext (Dutch TV and www, 2002) and the xxxellent Teletext Babez by Dragan Espenschied (Dutch TV, 2001). Microtel (Dutch TV, 2006) was a group exhibition that involved plenty of people from the micromusic.net community. Page 444 by MOMS (Icelandic TV 2007) is also worth mentioning here, although the YouTube-clip has been removed since I found it in 2008.

We should also note Dan Farrimond’s The Pixel Is Power (2008), the first (?) teletext video clip I Will Glam (Spanish TV, 2009), The Sound of Ebay by Ubermorgen (www, 2008), För Text-TV i Tiden by Fredrik Olsson & Otto von Busch (Swedish TV, 2010) and fok_it by Joonas Rinta-Kanto (Finnish TV 2012). UPDATE: Also check out the conceptual Social Teletext Network (2013).

And of course, the International Teletext Art Festival is right now doing its second year, running in a number of European countries. I was asked to contribute, so I presented my Remote Control Music Studio. This year it seems to receive more attention than before, and will be featured at the prestigous Ars Electronica art festival.

sorry, I know it's annoying

The last few years Raquel Meyers has been doing plenty of teletext work, and I’ve been lucky enough to make music and stuff for it. We used teletext for live VJing at Transmediale earlier this year (Mind the Volcano) and at Bonniers Konsthall we exhibited Datagården – a teletext graveyeard, remote controlled by the visitors. In Datagården there was also a DIYobituary, with a video-camera/teletext feedback loop, as shown below.

These things ran on standard TVs, since it used the teletext inserter vbit by Peter Kwan. At the time this was the only affordable option for custom teletext, but now there are even cheaper solutions for Raspberry Pi (with less features, though).

8651903904_c87df5b798_o

8651904900_56953b9e3b_o

If we turn away from the art world and consider teletext art in terms of craft and techne, teletext art is much older. Ever since the early years in the late 1970s people have been trying to master the craft of teletext. And it’s no simple task. Teletext only uses text characters (with semigraphic characters for the pixel-style) and 8 colours.

You can use control characters to change colour and size, aswell as add effects such as blink. But these control characters are shown as blanks, so changing a colour means that you have to insert an empty character. This is why there are usually thick black outlines in teletext graphics* and it’s also why horizontal compositions are so common. Below is a piece by LIA for the ITAF 2013 exhibition:

Lia_Black_and_White_Lia_05

Almost all teletext graphics have been lost. It is not easy to archive for researchers since it exists somewhere “outside” the screen. For the TV-companies it would be easy to save the teletext pages, but I would be surprised if they ever did.

But hey – you might have a teletext archive at home! If you have a VHS-tape with a movie recorded from a TV-channel with teletext, you can play the tape and browse teletext as it appeared when the movie was aired. If you’re lucky, anyway. If you are one of those rare SVHS-people, chances are much higher.

Even so, there are still plenty of good teletext works online. We collect many of them at text-mode.tumblr.com/tagged/teletext. Go there and check it out (NSFW and meanwhile you should check these two teletext animation series:

Hands Up!  by Intelfax. A mindblowing effort! An animation series to teach sign language. It was done on a BBC computer (which had built-in support for teletext) using the Movie Maker software. Although it might seem absurd to do this in text-mode instead of using pixel graphics, this was likely a good option for long animations, considering the amount of memory available. Btw: teletext graphics was also (sort of) supported by the ABC80 computer, aiit.

Bill Geers painstakingly animated biblical stories in teletext are equally impressive to Hands Up and afaik made with similar tools.

If you want to dig more into the world of teletext, you should also check out its sibbling protocols: the interactive videotex used both teletext and more complex protocols like antiope (used by Minitel) where you could change the font, and telidon that also featured vector graphics. Check out John Fekner’s Toxic Waste From A to Z below. Finally, there’s telesoftware and the bizarre browse-the-internet-over-your-phone-in-public-on-a-specific-teletext-page thing  3text maffian (in Swedish).

* Pro tip: circumvent the blank control characters by clever uses of background/foreground colours and “inverted” characters.

₪ Future Potentials For ASCII Art

August 6, 2013

asciiart4goto-small

A. Bill Miller and I wrote a paper on ASCII art together last year, which was presesented at the French conference on computer art, CAC 3. Now we’re releasing it on chipflip.org behind a paywall! Nah, just kidding. This is PHR33 ZI3NCe w4R3Z!

Read Future Potentials For ASCII Art
(Logo by Spot/Up Rough)

tl;dr:

For some purists, ASCII art is only representational text graphics that uses 128 characters. In this paper, we define it as a broader genre with several subcategories.

The paper explains some of the origins of ASCII art, such as square kufic, poetry, hacking, typewriters and net art. It briefly mentions the different levels in which ASCII art can be understood and manipulated (such as character encoding, typeface, screen).

We discuss the future potentials of ASCII art mainly in terms of non-representative art and the ways in which ASCII art affects the way we communicate. How, for example, tricky Unicode band names pushes us to come up with words for symbols we never talked about before (hey Prince!). Or how URLs, account names and text advertising has given new relevance to ASCII art skills, and also created new challenges for ASCII artists.

In that sense, ASCII has gone from object to subject. It is no longer only an invisible transmitter, but an active ingredient in the way humans communicate.

We’ve edited the original text slightly and added links and pictures. Without permission. Sorry. Enjoy! If you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment or send a mail.


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