We spent our Thursday and Friday evenings attending parts of the Vector Festival here in Toronto:
Vector Festival is a participatory and community-oriented initiative dedicated to showcasing digital games and creative media practices. Presenting works across a dynamic range of exhibitions, screenings, performances, lectures, and workshops, Vector acts as a critical bridge between emergent digital platforms and new media art practice.
Thursday night was the opening was the launch party at Inter/Access, and while a bunch of what we saw was interesting, I was blown away by some of what we saw Friday night at Execute! From Scene To Screen. From the site:
Vector co-founder Clint Enns curates an extraordinary screening that pays homage to the extravagant, edgy, and plain crazy history of the demoscene, a loose international community of programmers, hackers, musicians, and designers (originally involved in cracking video game copy protection) who create self-contained, audio-visual code-based works that range from minuscule visual abstractions to over-the-top epics. The majority of the work will be screened from executable files, rather than video, reframing the demo as a micro-cinema format.
He played the files using various emulators which got a little glitchy…which is part of the point. There were Amiga demos. Nintendo movies about Super Mario’s dementia. DOS animations. An unofficial video for a Grandaddy song (from The Sophtware Slump, which reminded me that I really need to re-listen to that album). Some kind of mutant hybrid where the file was both audio and animation.
There were Commodore C64 files, for fuck’s sake. And some of them made in this year. What a fascinating look into a scene that exists — somehow — out of sheer creativity and, I guess, patience. I remember C64 coding.
Also, when we left Inter/Access Thursday we had dinner at Omaw. I’d been wanting to try that place for a while, but it exceeded expectations. Here’s what came at us:
- Excellent cocktails. Far better than the wine, frankly. If I go back I’ll stick with the cocktails.
- Jambalaya fashioned into what looked like tiny balls of charcoal
- A sheet of aged wagyu covered in peas and coffee succotash
- Scallops with rice and coconut cream
- Nashville hot chicken, basically five pieces of flattened boneless chicken covered in hot sauce. MY GOD this was good. I want it every, every day.
Cover photo from the Omaw website