Europe In 8 Bits

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A film about reusing out­dated tech­nol­ogy in cre­ative ways to revamp the music scene.

Europe in 8 bits is a doc­u­men­tary that explores the world of chip music, a  musi­cal trend that is grow­ing expo­nen­tially through­out Europe. The stars of this musi­cal move­ment reveal to us how to reuse old videogames hard­ware like Nintendo’s Game­Boy, NES, Atari ST, Amiga and the Com­modore 64 to turn them into a tool capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new sound, a mod­ern tempo and an inno­v­a­tive musi­cal style.

This is a new way of inter­pret­ing music per­formed by a great many artists who show their skills in turn­ing these “lim­ited” machines designed for leisure in the 80’s into sur­pris­ing musi­cal instru­ments and graph­i­cal tools.


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Beetlejuice Minecraft Roller Coaster

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This is a video of the Bee­tle Juice roller coaster Youtube user nuropsych1 built in Minecraft cre­ative mode on an X-Box, inspired by the 1988 com­edy hor­ror film Beetlejuice.

The five minute long Beetle­juice — A Minecraft Roller Coaster video takes the viewer on a ride full of twists, turns and unex­pected drops through key scenes and char­ac­ters from the Tim Bur­ton movie. There’s Beetleguese of course plus Lydia, Adam, Bar­bara and Otho. Even the sand­worms of Sat­urn make an appear­ance through a cre­ative use of putting blocks in motion and perspective.

The Minecraft roller coaster ride was built “off and on” for two months in the cre­ative mode of the Xbox 360 game by Rivergrl21 and Nuropsych1.


8 BiT VoMiT’s 1° Birthday Party!

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1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY \ CYBERFEMINIST BLAST9TH OF MARCH in Berlin!

8 BiT VoMiT is a series of New Media art and music events founded by Graphic designer, DJ and artist Olya Lev­is­tova and Social Media and Pro­mo­tion enthu­si­ast Tanja Korobka. It has been cre­ated by Lon­don Chip Swarm with a mis­sion to grow chip­tune scene.

Lose your­self in explo­sive elec­tronic beats brought to you by Mind­pi­rates, 8bit Vomit, Chip swarm and DIY Church with a gath­er­ing of DJs and live acts from all over Europe. Dance your heart away and free your soul in a mix of indus­trial, noisy and loud sounds with visu­als by NZNZ, Gab­ifront, and Wario.

Meet the crea­tures of tomor­row to have a night of future fun with: COMPANY FUCK (AU / DE), MIDI MAN, Del_F64.0 & Zus­tand D. (DE), BEN BUTLER AND MOUSEPAD, SANTISIMA VIRGEN MARIA, DR. NEXUS and EYE, DJ OLIO (EE), DJ MICHAEL ANISER (noisekölln/epitaph). VIDEOGAMEZONE BY Qubodup (Joyride­labs).

Free mix­tapes, can­dyfloss, deco, and more. Sup­ported by http://www.sexclusivitaeten.de/ and MINd­PI­rates

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Film Before Film

Opti­cal toys, shadow shows, ‘magic lanterns’ and visual tricks have existed for thou­sands of years. Many inven­tors, sci­en­tists, and man­u­fac­tur­ers have observed the visual phe­nom­e­non that a series of indi­vid­ual still pic­tures set into motion cre­ated the illu­sion of move­ment — a con­cept termed per­sis­tence of vision.

Film Before Film is an exhil­a­rat­ing and amus­ing ency­clo­pe­dic look at the “pre­his­tory” of cinema.

Werner Nekes charts the fas­ci­na­tion with mov­ing pic­tures which led to the birth of film, cov­er­ing shadow plays, peep shows, flip books, flicks, magic lanterns, lithopanes, panoramic, scrolls, col­or­ful forms of early ani­ma­tion, and numer­ous other his­tor­i­cal artiffices.

Work­ing with these for­mats, early “pro­duc­ers” cre­ated melo­dra­mas, come­dies, — as well as lots of pornog­ra­phy – antic­i­pat­ing most of the forms known today.

Nekes probes these col­or­ful toys and inven­tions in a rich and reward­ing opti­cal experience.

Film Before Film is a bewil­der­ing assault of exotic (and some­times erotic) images and illusions.


Camover: Anti-Surveillance Real Life Gaming

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Ger­man dis­si­dents are tak­ing gam­i­fi­ca­tion and apply­ing it to activism in order to protest the rise of sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try. Camover 2013 is a com­pe­ti­tion unfold­ing across the coun­try, in which teams attempt to destroy as many CCTV cam­eras as pos­si­ble. Bonus scores are given to the teams that dis­play the most cre­ativ­ity in destruc­tion. In the video invi­ta­tion below you can see ski-masked “play­ers”  tear­ing the cam­eras down with ropes, smash­ing them out with ham­mers, and black­ing them out with bil­low­ing clouds of spray paint. Teams are encour­aged to upload their con­quests to the Camover web­site.

Tthe Ger­man debate about the use of sur­veil­lance in pub­lic spaces has come to the fore in recent years. While CCTV cam­eras have been in use in the coun­try since the mid–1960s, last year’s Bonn bomb scare and a pub­lic mid­day mur­der in bustling Alexan­der­platz lead the country’s Inte­rior Min­is­ter to call for bring­ing the cam­eras out of the train sta­tions and onto the street. The Min­istry claims they have been shown to reduce crime by as much as 20 per­cent, although not all reports on the cam­eras’ effec­tive­ness as a deter­rent have been favorable.

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The moral and legal con­cerns asso­ci­ated with the will­ful destruc­tion of prop­erty in the real-world make this much more than a “game,” and the cre­ators admit that it’s a seri­ous mat­ter. Camover’s anony­mous founder: “although we call it a game, we are quite seri­ous about it: our aim is to destroy as many cam­eras as pos­si­ble and to have an influ­ence on video sur­veil­lance in our cities.”

Camover ends on Feb­ru­ary 16th, three days before the start of the Euro­pean Police Con­gress.


Molecule Synth

I love DIY projects, though I hardly ever fin­ish any one I start; but cir­cuit bend­ing and out of the ordi­nary elec­tronic instru­ments fas­ci­nate me. We have posted in the past arti­cles about Leo ThereminClara Rock­more8 bit music and glitch, also a hack­ing man­ual with links to work­shops to cre­ate elec­tronic musi­cal devices.

This time a want to intro­duce you to a project by Travis Feld­man, an edu­ca­tor, inven­tor, and musi­cian. He cre­ates art­ful hand­made elec­tronic devices, and has been mak­ing elec­tronic musi­cal instru­ments and mod­i­fy­ing his own home stu­dio record­ing gear since 1999. He has taught courses on games, ani­ma­tion art, and lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton, Lewis & Clark Col­lege, and the Pem­broke Hill School.

Now he has decided to leave his lit­er­a­ture teach­ing life for some­thing much closer to his per­sonal pas­sion: cre­ate elec­tronic musi­cal instru­ments. He is the cre­ator of Mol­e­cule Synth.

The Mol­e­cule Synth is a unique, utterly new kind of musi­cal instru­ment. It offers the ele­men­tal com­po­nents of a tra­di­tional key­board syn­the­sizer — a speaker & amp, a sound gen­er­a­tor, and a pitch con­troller — but presents those ele­ments as pieces that you arrange (and rearrange!) in var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions to cre­ate your own musi­cal device. The Mol­e­cule Synth is designed to be intu­itive to use: each of its hexag­o­nal pieces is color-coded to indi­cate what that piece is and does, and each piece is marked to show how it con­nects to other pieces. With these build­ing blocks, you choose how to con­fig­ure your instru­ment, and, later, you can move the pieces and con­fig­ure an entirely new instrument!

Mol­e­cule Synth should become what he describes as the addi­tion of Lego + Synths and Phys­i­cal Elec­tronic… a “wild” synth expe­ri­ence that should enrich if not over­pass whichever sounds that come out of tra­di­tional keyboards.


The Creativity of Indie Video Games

Indie Video games have con­quered the mar­ket in recent years. The video game indus­try is now big­ger than Hol­ly­wood, with hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars spent devel­op­ing these inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences. But there are also small-scale devel­op­ers work­ing in the indie video game realm, cre­at­ing unique and exper­i­men­tal video games with­out the bud­gets of the larger “AAA” games. These indie game devel­op­ers devote time, money, and take great risks in a quest to real­ize their cre­ative vision. They deftly bal­ance game mechan­ics & sys­tems, sound & visu­als, and an immer­sive sto­ry­telling expe­ri­ence to push the gam­ing medium into rev­o­lu­tion­ary new ter­ri­tory. Much like indie music or indie film, the indie gam­ing move­ment pro­vides a cre­ative out­let for game design­ers who want to work out­side of the main­stream.(more about)

Here’s an overview from the most excel­lent web series “Off Book” pro­duced by PBS.


Mixtum

Mix­tum is a cre­ative tool for ran­domly select­ing a trio of sym­bols to help access con­cepts. There are a poten­tial of 32,768 dif­fer­ent trios that can be chanced upon.

Mix­tum began as a lab­o­ra­tory tool for preschool chil­dren to cre­ate new futures through syn­the­siz­ing dis­con­nected ideas and objects. A cen­tral idea of futures ori­ented edu­ca­tion is to help peo­ple cre­ate their own alter­na­tives to the dom­i­nant view of the future. This process requires cre­ativ­ity, inven­tive ques­tion­ing, and con­sid­er­ing diverse pos­si­bil­i­ties. Mix­tum prompts play­ers to exer­cise these skills, which are applic­a­ble not only for preschool chil­dren but to stu­dents and prac­ti­tion­ers of art, writ­ing, move­ment, music and any­one else inter­ested in the fringes of human imagination.

Mix­tum is intended to empha­size and strengthen our abil­ity for flex­i­ble syn­the­sis. With a spin of the wheel a player is given two or three ran­dom (or uncon­nected) symbols/objects/ideas that have to find a way to come together into one new thing, ver­bally or visu­ally. For exam­ple, if one was given the two sym­bols house and nose, they could syn­the­size it into a “home for a booger” or “a nose that blows out win­dows” or a “house in the shape of a nose.” What are the ben­e­fits to these some­what silly phrases or sur­re­al­ist think­ing prac­tices? We like to con­sider it as a plat­form for seri­ous new kinds of ques­tions: “What would a house look like that was shaped like a nose?” “What is an ho-nose-me?” “Is a home a fil­ter of dirt, too?” By using the process of Mix­tum, we refresh the abun­dance and pos­si­bil­ity present in our every­day expe­ri­ence of ideas and objects.

Along with an eye toward the future, Mix­tum is a tool for engag­ing play­ers with deep arche­typal imagery and innate sym­bols. Cre­at­ing a means by which the lan­guage of sym­bol­ism, and the impor­tance of myth cre­ation and lit­er­acy, can be dis­cussed with­out becom­ing too rooted in intel­lec­tual logic, or new-age intu­ition alone (though both are encour­aged in the Mix­tum process). Start­ing with per­sonal con­no­ta­tions, play­ers are led on their own jour­neys towards the uni­ver­sal aspects of our sym­bolic his­to­ries. For a great ref­er­ence tool to accom­pany Mix­tum, we sug­gest, The Book Of Sym­bols: Reflec­tions On Arche­typal Images (The Archive for Research in Arche­typal Sym­bol­ism). It gives brief infor­ma­tion on many of the sym­bols found on the Mix­tum board, along with many more one finds in their dreams, and syn­chro­nis­tic moments.

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix­tum is com­prised of three con­cen­tric rings of sym­bols. Each ring is num­bered accord­ing to size; the small­est ring is num­ber one, mid­dle ring is two and the large ring is three. The dots on the spin­ners cor­re­spond with the ring num­bers. Stack the three spin­ners and spin them together. When they have stopped spin­ning, fol­low each one to the sym­bol it is point­ing to in the cor­re­spond­ing ring. These are the three sym­bols you will play with. If a spin­ner lands on a line, move the spin­ner clockwise.

Using your own inter­pre­ta­tion, com­bine all three sym­bols into one new idea in the form of a draw­ing. If you pre­fer, draw­ing can be sub­sti­tuted with speak­ing, writ­ing, move­ment, music.


Chiptune

Chip­tune music has been around for sev­eral years, but it has become expo­nen­tially pop­u­lar in the 2010s. It is called chip­tune due to the fact that hard­ware chips are used to cre­ate the music. In the 1980s and into the 1990s,  sound chips were used as co-processors  in home com­puter sys­tems and arcade machines to relieve the load placed on CPUs. The dis­tinc­tive sound pro­duced by these machines is imprinted in the mind of any­one who ever played video games then; whether it was the Com­modore 64, Atari, Nin­tendo or any other addic­tive machine hated by parents.

In a 2003 arti­cle of Wired Mag­a­zine writ­ten by Mal­colm McLaren, he states:

We live in a karaoke cul­ture. The Japan­ese word means “empty orches­tra” — a life­less musi­cal form unen­cum­bered by cre­ativ­ity and free of respon­si­bil­ity. Sim­ple, clean fun for the mil­len­nial nuclear fam­ily. You can’t fail in a karaoke world. It’s life by proxy, lib­er­ated by hind­sight.
Authen­tic­ity, on the other hand, believes in the messy process of cre­ativ­ity. It’s unpop­u­lar and out of fash­ion. It wor­ships fail­ure, regard­ing it as a roman­tic and noble pur­suit — bet­ter to be a flam­boy­ant fail­ure than any kind of benign suc­cess.
Karaoke and authen­tic­ity can sit well together, but it takes artistry to make that hap­pen. When it does, the results can be explosive.”

Chip­tune is a whole uni­verse in and of itself, with a lot of his­tory despite its rel­a­tively short exis­tence and it spans dif­fer­ent styles, tech­nolo­gies, musi­cians, etc., so we do not want to bore you with a schol­arly doc­u­ment on this post but we wanted to intro­duce the sub­ject to our read­ers and we will surely come back to the sub­ject in future posts.

For now we want to leave you a few sam­ples of 8-bit cov­ers that we like from the web.

Oh, one more thing, in case you are won­der­ing, the pic­ture at the top is of Matthew C. Apple­gate, a failed IT grad­u­ate now a leader, edu­ca­tor and inspirer of chip tune art. The back­ground of the pic­ture looks quite famil­iar, doesn’t it?

More GREAT 8-bit tunes here


The LEGO Story — LEGO’s 80th Birthday

LEGO blocks are one of the most beloved toys in the world, play­ing a role in many a person’s child­hood. But for some cre­ators, LEGO has evolved from toy to art form.

The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbre­vi­a­tion of the two Dan­ish words “leg godt”, mean­ing “play well”. Coin­ci­den­tally, Lego means “I put together” in Latin. The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen.

The com­pany has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kris­tiansen, a grand­child of the founder. The LEGO brick is teir most impor­tant prod­uct. In cel­e­bra­tion of Lego’s 80th birth­day, the fol­low­ing ani­mated short film fea­tures the company’s path from wooden toys to the inter­lock­ing plas­tic pieces we’re so pas­sion­ate about today.

We have pre­vi­ously posted some other arti­cles por­tray­ing LEGO Cre­ations and a sim­i­lar prod­uct for the iPad gen­er­a­tion. If you are inter­ested  check out these posts too:

Lit­tleBits, LEGO for the iPad gen­er­a­tionAlan Turing’s Cen­te­nary and LEGO Mars Rover. You might also be ineter­ested in he Lost Art of Automa­tons. Finally, to leave you on a humor­ous note, watch below a Rage comic meme involv­ing LEGO.