Interview with Szilárd Matusik, the director of “Moleman2 – Demoscene”

I did an email interview with Szilárd Matusik, the director of “Moleman 2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms” (the one I mentioned in my previous post).

…Why did he choose ‘demoscene’ as a theme? …why did he pick that demo? …and most importantly, where is his “must-see” address in Hungary…? J 


What is your relationship with demoscene? How did you come across this scene?

I was never really deep into the demoscene. I mean, I never was a member of any groups, or never made any demo. First time I saw a demo was when I was around 12-13 yrs old. There were computer related magazines with CDs, and we found some demos in these. We didn't know what those are, but we just thought, “Hey, these are really amazing stuffs!" :D

In my high school ages, I was interested in 3D graphics as a hobby. I used to live in the countryside, so there were not so many guys who shared the same hobby. I got to know other guys interested in 3D graphics through the internet. There were some guys on a mailing list related to 3D graphics, and they were sceners. That's how I came across the scene.

Around this time, I attended a demoparty in Germany (Mekka Symposium), which was the biggest party in the world back then, I think. I also attended Flag, a Hungarian demoparty in Budapest. I made some 3D graphics for these 2 parties, but these were my only stuffs released in the scene.

Then I moved to Budapest, and studied at the Technical University of Budapest. So it's somehow strange, that I got closer to the scene in physical distance, but my activity got reduced. (I was interested in other things.) I rarely followed the demoscene.

What was the first motivation to make this film? Why did you choose “demoscene” as your documentary’s theme?

We started making Moleman 1 with my friend Gábor Csépai (He is the reporter in Moleman 2) around 2008. It's about the modern subcultures of Budapest, like street-art, underground music, extreme-sports on the streets, etc. The idea of making some kind of TV series about these topics comes from Gábor who has a lot of friends in this underground world. After he couldn't find enough sponsors to make a TV series, I said “why don't we make a documentary with these guys just for fun?” So we started making Moleman 1. 

And when we were at the end of the post production, I thought “if we are going to make a new documentary about modern subcultures, the demoscene can be a really good topic”. Gábor knew nothing about the demoscene, so I showed him some demos, and we started making Moleman 2:D Gábor discovered the demoscene during the shootings.

I thought it will be a good topic because it's a really sub-subculture. People even don't know that the demoscene exist, and there was no such thing as a feature length of film about the demoscene before. So it was a topic with lot of exciting things.

photo: molemanfilm.com
How long did it take to make this film? You’ve been to many places and parties to shoot?

It took almost 2 years. But not the whole time was an active period. We made it in our free time, so there were months when we couldn't make anything due to our busy work schedule.
The active time we spent on could be around 1.5 to 2 months. We shot at 3 parties; Function in Budapest, Arok Party in the countryside, and Main in France. And we shot with the guys who are in the film.

There are some other footages from another parties in the film, but those are archive videos made by other sceners.

What was your impression of demosceners? Were they supportive towards your interview?

I can say that it was a great pleasure to make interviews with these guys. They are super cool and love to talk about the demoscene. There is a great community around the scene, and it was my most important task with this film, to show up at this community and meet the people, not just (seeing) demos.

Opening sequence covers the history of demo works and there are many more sequences of demo works in your film. Was it fun to pick and edit for the film? Or were you overwhelmed by the countless choices? How was the process like?

Murphy (you can see him in the film) made a huge list for me with the names of the most important demos from the beginning of the demoscene to nowadays’. So I started to find demos for the film using that list. And it was a big help for me. I also checked the different top list on pouet.net.

It was a great fun to select demos and intros. Although there are around 150 demos showed up in the film, it was not always an easy question which to select and which to not.

It may be a tough question… what is your favorite demo?

I don't have 'THE ONE' favorite. I like many (of them). I really like the demos from ASD. They make really spectacular and entertaining demos. And I also like demos from Conspiracy, Farbraush, and so on:) But I can say, I can find many-many groups who have amazing demos. So it's hard to choose one.

OK, then what about the most memorable demo?

The first demos I can remember were 'lamer demos'. This was a category in Hungary for simple but funny wild demos. They made some simple cartoon animation with funny dialogues, and I remember one which was a funny tale with “Mulder and Scully” from the X-files series. 

But the most amazing demos from that time were the 64k intros. I really like them. These were made before the 3D graphics cards and don't contain too many 3D objects, but have really cool coded effects.

Do you have any particular message that you want to send through this film?

I just want to show the demoscene to the people. There are so many talented people in the scene, and so many amazing works, and there is this really lovely community. People have to know about it. And on the other hand, I want to inspire people through this film to start making their own artworks.

Addition to demoscene, you have introduced some Hungarian culture in this film. For people who get interested in visiting Hungary by this film, will you recommend your “must-see” address in Hungary?

There are a lot of things you can visit in Hungary. It depends on the people, and what kind of things they want to see. But to say something which is related to the film, they should visit Szimpla Kert, which is a really famous, so called ruin-pub in Budapest. We shot a scene there, where Zioa, Murphy and Gargaj are talking, and you can see computer monitors on the wall. A lot of foreign people visit that place, and that's really cool :D But of course you can't miss the sights of the city and the Hungarian cuisine if you visit Budapest.

Szimpla Kert  Photo: Flickr by currystrumpet


Hmm…Murphy’s huge list… wonder how long was it:D

Szilárd has been responding my message very kindly since my first contact. Thank you so much for this interview and your work!

シラード・マツシックさん、ドキュメンタリー映画「Moleman2 - Demoscene」監督にインタビュー

この前の投稿でご紹介させていただいた、デモシーンのドキュメンタリー映画、「Moleman 2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms(デモシーン: アート・オブ・アルゴリズム)」の監督、シラード・マツシック(Szilárd Matusikさんにメールインタビューをさせていただきました。




高校時代は3Dグラフィックに興味があって趣味でやってたんだけど、田舎に住んでたから周りに同じ趣味を持ってる奴がいなかった。それで、3Dグラフィック関連のメーリングリストに載ってた人と知り合いになったんだけど、その人達がデモシーナーだったんだ。それがデモシーンとの出会い。あの時は、当時世界で最大規模だったドイツのデモパーティー(Mekka Symposium)に参加したし、ハンガリのデモパーティーFlagにも行った。この2つのパーティー用に3Dグラフィックを作ったけど、デモシーンでリリースしたのはそれだけだね。



まず2008年頃に、友達のガボール・シーパイ(Gábor Csépai、「Moleman 2」のレポーター)と「Moleman 1」の制作を始めたんだ。これはストリートアートとか、アンダーグラウンドな音楽とか、ストリートの極限スポーツみたいなブダペストのサブカルチャーを扱ったものなんだけど、こういうのをシリーズのテレビ番組にできないかなってガボールが提案してきたんだよ。彼は、こういうカルチャーの中にいる友達がたくさんいるからね。でも、テレビ番組にするにはスポンサーが足りなくて、だったら趣味でドキュメンタリーを作ろうかと思いついたんだ。それで「Moleman 1」を作り始めた。

ポストプロダクションも終わりにさしかかった頃に、「現代のサブカルチャーでドキュメンタリーを作るなら、次はデモシーンが良いテーマかもしれない」って考えが浮かんだんだ。ガボールはデモシーンのことを何も知らなかったから、デモをいくつか見せて、、それで「Moleman 2」の制作が決定さ。(笑) ガボールは撮影を進めながらデモシーンについて学んでいたよ。


photo: molemanfilm.com

制作には2年かかったよ。でもずっと制作してたわけじゃなくて、空いた時間に作ってたんだ。仕事が忙しくて何もできない月もあったから、実質の制作期間は1カ月半から2カ月かな。撮影に行ったパーティーは、ブダペストのFunction、田舎でやってるArok Party、それとフランスのMain3つだね。そこで映画に登場する人達に話を聞いたんだ。映画の中には、他のパーティーの映像も出てくるけど、あれは他のデモシーナーが撮影したアーカイブ動画なんだよ。







「これだ」っていう1つはないけど、いろいろ好きなものはあるんだ。ASDのデモは大好きだよ。本当に見応えがあって、楽しませてくれるデモを作ってると思う。それからConspiracyのデモも好きだし、、Farbraushも好きだし、、、キリがない(笑) 素晴らしいデモを作ってるグループは本当にたくさんいるんだよ。1つだけ選ぶのは難しい。






ハンガリーは見所が多いよ。人にもよるし、何を見たいかにもよるんだけど、映画に関連したところで言えば、「Szimpla Kert」かな。有名な場所で、ブダペストの廃墟パブって言われてるんだ。映画ではZioaMurphyGargajが話してるシーンに出てくるよ。壁にコンピュータのモニターがかかってるところ。外国人のお客も多いし、クールな店なんだ。でもブダペストに行くなら、もちろん街の景色やハンガリー料理も楽しまないとダメだよ。

Szimpla Kert  Photo: Flickr by currystrumpet




シラードさん監督のドキュメンタリー映画「Moleman 2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms(デモシーン: アート・オブ・アルゴリズム)」については、こちらからどうぞ。

"Moleman2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms"

I just did Japanese subtitle for the Documentary movie called “Moleman 2 – Demoscene – The Art of the Algorithms” :) It’s a documentary series called "Moleman" made by Hungarian filmmakers, and for their second release they chose demoscene, not-so-known computer sub-culture, as a theme. This 90min movie will answer most of your “what is demoscene?” questions.

I strongly believe that it’s so much quick and better to watch this movie than my explanation, but to avoid giving wrong impression to people who hears the word ‘demoscene’ for the first time (like I did, I first imagined that it’s a political demonstration with computer), let me try introducing this super roughly.

Demo looks similar to Electronica type of music video (like this or this). But what is different from those music video is that Demo only consist of computer programs (meaning, no photo or video is used to create). Moreover, there’s file size limitations for demo such as “less than 1MB”, “64KB” or “4KB” etc. Generally speaking, who think it’s possible to create music video type of work with only 4KB? Now a photo taken with iPhone is over 1.5MB! ...Yet in this wide world, there are some people who prove it’s possible.

Here’s an example. This music video is made by genius Michel Gondry, he went to Iceland to shot these scenes and add some CG and Bjork in the view. Probably cost quite a lot.

Here, this is 4KB Demo made by RGBA+TBC for fun. Everything (like music and visuals) is packed in the 4KB file, and it’s all generated from programs, not loading photos.

What’s going on there? Well, go check with your eyes. 
You can watch this entire film on YouTube with various languages! (or you can download from Moleman's website)

Interview with the director, Szilárd Matusik can be read here.

「Moleman2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms」

お仕事ではなく趣味での翻訳になるんですが、コンピューターのサブカルチャー“デモシーン”のドキュメンタリー映画、Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms(デモシーン: アート・オブ・アルゴリズム)」の日本語字幕をつけましたー。



こちらは、RGBA+ TBCというグループが趣味で作った4KBのデモ作品。映像も音楽もぜーんぶ入れて4KB。もちろん写真ではなく、これはすべてプログラムから出してる映像と音楽。





「高校生数学コンテストを取材したい!」と言うからには、さぞかし数学が得意だったのでしょうと所々で言われましたが、、私自身は数学とは何のご縁もなく・・・高校の時には、1年分のテストの点数をかきあつめ、泣きすがって単位をもらってたぐらいだったので・・・。 そもそも、数学は暗記科目だと思ってたことが大間違いなんですが。(だって、黄色い参考書はパターンで覚えろって感じだったでしょう?ちがったのか?)





それから数年、本やらドキュメンタリーやらを見たところ、、どうやら私の知っている数学は、本物の数学ではなく、数学のための基礎、というか基礎を建てる前の草むしりみたいなもんだったことが分かりました(分かったのはそれだけか、って話もありますが)。本物の数学の世界は、、正解があるかどうかも分からない、哲学に近い世界のように見えます。(いろんな人から「数学の神さま」っていう言葉が出てくるのも不思議。) 考えて、考えて、、想像力がなければ進めないものなんだなあと、、、


しかもこのコンテストの後には、群馬県内に国際セミナーを持つ東京大学の数理科学研究科との共催で「高校生数学キャンプ」という、23日の数学合宿があります。このキャンプでは「本物の数学の世界」プラス、「本物のハカセ」に会えます。笑 (県の担当者の方が、「我々には冷凍食品のようですが、彼らはおいしいパンを食べるように数学のことを語ってますよ」とおっしゃっていました。絵が見える分かりやすいたとえ!しかし私にとっては食べ物ですらないので、、せめて数字のクッキーを焼いて食べようと型を買った。↑)










とか偉そうに言ってる私も、数学が暗記ではなく「考える学問」なんだと知ったのはついこの前(笑) それまではひたすら、、辛く厳しい、機械のような科目だと・・・ (つづく)






1. 群馬に住んで朝日新聞を購読する
2. 群馬県内のコンビニで「AG」が中にはさまっていることを確認して朝日新聞を買う(入れるのを忘れるところもあるって聞いたので!)





Math Contest

The article I wrote about “Gunma Mathematics Contest” was published today on Weekly Asahi Gunma paper (Japanese only). I’ve been checking this event from June, so it’s a relief that it’s actually came out..

The contest has been annually held in summer for 15 years, and is open for high school students in Gunma (hidden gem of Japan, and where I live). In this contest, attendees try to solve 4 problems in 3 hours with their own approach.

Problems from 2012 contest.... 

Problems look like puzzles rather than school test and they can use calculator or scissors or anything you can think of, because ‘how they approach’ to the solution is the key in this event. This year, there were almost 400 attendees, and 43 students won prize.

After the contest, there’s Math Camp held in the middle of forest. There’s beautiful institute of Tokyo University Mathematical Sciences in Tambara plateau, Gunma. And their graduates invite Gunma’s high school students to give an introduction of ‘real mathematics world’ in the camp.

I’ve heard that this institute was modeled on MFO in Germany. According to what I’ve researched, mathematicians need nice and quiet (or isolated) place with a little walkway.. oh why, Gunma is more than perfect! (Photo: Tokyo university MS faculty)

Whole purpose of these events is to give students opportunities to experience the “real math”.. which is different from what students learn at school. I found this fantastic, and hoping more and more kids joining this contest to discover something new. They may hate ‘school math’ but the glimpse of ‘real math’ may change their mind.

The “Real Math”… I didn’t even know the existence of it up until quite lately, and… I guess I will write more about this next time.. 

The First Post Blues...

It seems like the summer is finally over. Temperature drops and it’s getting tougher and tougher to get out of bed… warm blankie and craving of hot chocolate… haaa, my favorite season is here!

Speaking of getting out of bed, I lately discovered that iPhone finally allows us to set songs for alarm (good bye duck sound!), so my dillydally rising time is becoming a bit fun. I set different songs for every 5 minutes to make playlist…but so far it rather works like ‘music intro quiz’. It would be more fun if there’s Shuffle feature…

Anyway, welcome to my blog. 
The idea of "very first" post on something is daunting, so let me pass this with.... whatever. (I promise, I'll be better next time!! :)

Thanks for visiting.

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