So, are demos art?

category: general [glöplog]
Well, i only completely disagree with Photon. Like hacking, on its original sense, demos definitely can be art, as an expression of sensibility through knowledge/skill. A programmer (and i guess only a programmer) can see the finest art expressed by code written by another programmer. For the non-coder, that is just a bunch of technical instructions and formulas. In the same wa, i, as a coder, am unable to see the art in the jazz music.
added on the 2011-06-04 07:37:08 by imerso imerso
and this galaxy tab thing here sucks. it is slow and eats letters.
added on the 2011-06-04 07:41:00 by imerso imerso

Why confuse us with all that crap? It's all so simple if you stop confusing us!

BB Image
added on the 2011-06-04 07:50:15 by ringofyre ringofyre
demo is art.
added on the 2011-06-04 10:01:55 by Bartoshe Bartoshe
imerso, "I disagree" is not a very helpful argument to the discussion.

Firstly: It doesn't really help the discussion to widen 'Art' to basically mean 'anything that you make', because then it loses meaning and is nothing to aspire to.

The point I made was the demos are not art because they're a different thing. They already have greater potential than art, because they can have a much more powerful impact.

Let's imagine the art legends were resurrected and persuaded to make a co-op demo. Here is the credits screen:

Code by Riemann
Gfx by Da Vinci
Music by Bach
Scrolltext by Shakespeare

How hard it was to invent the first credit proved my point; coders could write epic code and it still wouldn't be something others could 'enjoy' - other than through a demo!

Likewise, some high-culture art reporter with vast cultural knowledge could suggest 20 names for each of the other credits, but wouldn't even come up with 1 great 'logic/math artist' (even though there are plenty that changed the world radically over the last hundreds of years). He couldn't, because what the coder creates, the code, is not that which is enjoyed. In a demo, it's the effect or mood or impression the code makes, together with the other facets of the whole demo, that is enjoyed.

Now, the demo would have lots of high art in it, but what decides if it's a 'high demo' is the code. If there's nothing in the code that makes it a demo (rather than a slideshow or musicdisk), it's like visiting a concert or exhibit. Neither are anything like watching a demo.

A good demo leaves you with totally different feelings from a good piece of music or a sculpture. You're after a different thing with demos.

One thing's for sure, nerding around the clock and getting drunk in sports arenas is quite incompatible with any connection between high art and the scene. ;) I like both, but this points to demogroups being more like rock bands. A team of individual talents get together and try to make an awesome experience.

There are certainly artful geniuses, composers and artists in the scene. If they didn't make demos they'd just be making lesser things, like Art ;)

Demos are not art. They're a different thing. I hope I made good and clear arguments for that, and that demos don't NEED to be art. Or even have art. They just need to be good demos.
added on the 2011-06-04 15:17:54 by Photon Photon
Well, I would not put the code 'above' the other art forms, because for a demo prod, the code alone (generally) wont make a great demo without great music from a musician and great images from a designer.

But still we have some exceptions to that statement. A 100% procedural demo can very well result in images and sounds without any musician or designer participation, in the same way that you can have music and images without any code at all.

As an example, I see a 1k procedurally animated fractal with noisy sound in background as art.

What I am arguing here is that yes I still think that the code alone could still be considered art (or produce art, if you still prefer).

Even then, I reserve the right to change my mind if someone is really able to convince me that I'm wrong. =)
added on the 2011-06-04 17:01:07 by imerso imerso
Btw I don't think that "a brush is not art" as argument to "code is not art", because the brush itself wont mean anything, but the code alone for someone who can read and visualize it will be the art itself.

I mean, a coder can visualize the results of code, so the code alone (even not running on a computer) *means* the art it produces, differently from the brush alone.
added on the 2011-06-04 17:07:39 by imerso imerso
(sorry for spamming)

So concluding, I think demos = union of three different art forms.

Finally, demos = even higher art form.
added on the 2011-06-04 17:15:30 by imerso imerso
Photon: Code by Mandelbrot?
added on the 2011-06-04 17:23:38 by psonice psonice
demo is art. <--> art is demo. Q.E.D.
added on the 2011-06-04 18:19:39 by Defiance Defiance
1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
2. Works produced by such skill and imagination.

"expression or application of human creative skill and imagination" - check.
"typically in a visual form" - check.
"to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power" - check.

So, yes.

Looking at it that way gives me an interesting thought though: "art demos" I would say are generally "bad art" (as much as we tend to love them, me included, in comparison with some of the artworks out there they are in general pretty low on the scale).

Demos that aren't intended to be art though, like the ones that are focused on pure code? Some of them are incredibly beautiful from a code point of view, so they're arguably great art! They're something the average art critic would be unable to understand at all unfortunately, or cdak would be hanging in the louvre :)
added on the 2011-06-04 18:31:51 by psonice psonice

Art is something made by someone that provokes an emotional reaction.

He got the point! not everything provocates an emotional reaction. and hopefully art tends to provocate positive emotional reactions. or at least should try :) i hope.

But now, how do you provocate an emotional reaction with code? without involving technical knowledge to reach the greater audience?
added on the 2011-06-04 18:40:54 by nystep nystep
nystep: that's like asking how to provoke an emotional reaction with a paint brush, without involving technical knowledge of painting techniques in the greater audience. It's the results people respond to, the technique is merely what gets you there (although people with technical knowledge will appreciate it).
added on the 2011-06-04 18:49:45 by psonice psonice
added on the 2011-06-04 18:53:04 by nystep nystep
Another element is context, but then you're into the realm of "what IS context" and that's a whole other discussion. Examples:

This is very nice and technically beats a previous production but is probably not art. What else are the creators saying other than "at this point we're better"?

More obvious examples of context: (probably more social commentary)
First days...

Less obvious:
Ballet dancer
(are the particle fx just fx or commentary on the dancer's toil? Then again are we to take the title literally?)

And so on.
added on the 2011-06-04 19:14:13 by 4mat 4mat
nystep:i dont see where in the definition is stated that it must be understood by "the great audience". if a person learns enough about coding, this person most probably will start to feel the encoded art, seeing a demo or a code listing. the art is still there, it is just encoded.
added on the 2011-06-04 20:46:56 by imerso imerso
art appreciation depends on the viewer's sensibility to that art. being totally honest here, i feel nothing when i see the monalisa. but my heart almost explodes when i "see" the code behind an incredible demo -- i mean, seeing just the demo running, i can feel the beauty of the encoded art. i have no doubt at all that the person who coded that is an artist.
added on the 2011-06-04 20:57:12 by imerso imerso
Well, but art is a message also. it can be received by the people who are sensitive and open minded about it. Some of the best known painters for example only started to be really known after their death, like picasso. It's like no one understood the message as they were alive and suddenly, with times and generations passing by, new sights on the same things discovered emotions in the original message that nobody noticed before?
added on the 2011-06-04 23:13:58 by nystep nystep
Fuzzy definitions will not help in understanding anything.

I bet there are plenty of hacked together in a weekend (code is not art;coder is not an artist;he just coded the algorithm fast to get it done) demos that generate graphics (there's no artist) playing music made to fit the graphics by a great musician (not an artist). Or this ? ;)

imerso, there are things to discover in the painting if you look carefully. Some aspects of its greatness come from the greatness of the artist and some from speculation by experts and non-experts. Portal 2 has a manual in the beginning explaining how to enjoy art :D

4mat :) First demo there indeed says, "oh yeah? here's mine". There was fierce competition about being state of the art then, back when coding effort really could be compared. Other aspects make a demo great (such as idea, massiveness, fitting with the music, mood etc), and some demos are just "hello, we're alive, I just coded this, here a scrolltext of our last months". Lots of "oops, 4 months and no demo, make demo saying we're not dead quickly" back then too ;) Sometimes they are like a diary/showreel, "was coding some effects anyway, so I put them in a demo". The reason for that one was to get a first demo out for re-formed SCX Sweden, and to show how good the vector routine I started for Stunner was. And of course to brag and say how bad everyone else was in the scrolltext, also common at that time ;)

added on the 2011-06-04 23:42:16 by Photon Photon
That was an exaggeration from my part, Mona Lisa is in reality quite an interesting piece of art, I was only trying to show my point of view, that it is needed to be sensitive to that kind of art to feel the message.
added on the 2011-06-05 00:43:48 by imerso imerso
I've written a text with more than 10 lines of revolutionary way of seeing art and when I tried to submit it, it said I was not logged. :(

You know what? FUCK ART!
added on the 2011-06-05 08:25:41 by Danguafer Danguafer
I've written a text with more than 10 lines of revolutionary way of seeing art and when I tried to submit it, it said I was not logged. :(

You know what? FUCK ART!

aww. and welcome. ;)
added on the 2011-06-05 08:33:27 by yumeji yumeji
Well, lots of things can provoke an emotional reaction. A winning lottery ticket can provoke joy. A speech by Sarkozy definitely provokes anger. That doesn't make them art. I find your definition way too inclusive.

The thing is:

Winning the lottery is a eventuality, it was not the aim. But the lottery itself could be considered the art of making money.
Everything can be art. A speech could be art. But it's needed to be taken to a higher level. It needs to be carved, it must be conscious.

Art must be conscious:
When you are making a demo, you are consciously focusing its purpose (e.g. its impact on a certain public - e.g. Amiga enthusiasts).

PS¹: I agree that discussing it is weird. Since everything could be considered art, it depends of the community. And, maybe, "community" is the keyword. Art, in anthropology, is heavily related with community.

PS²: I swear that the original text was far better. :(
added on the 2011-06-05 08:38:52 by Danguafer Danguafer
And, imerso... Do you want to be my friend? We are going to party hard in São Paulo on december.
added on the 2011-06-05 08:42:16 by Danguafer Danguafer