2013/08/29

haunt me: Love is in the Bento box




TV clip from "Tokyo Gas"

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While having less and less conversation with my son,
I decided to make his lunch bento every day.
It was, like a one-sided email to him.

   “Don’t think it’s going to be like this every day.”

[Bento with your top 3 favorites]

  “Here. You will have lunch bento from today.”

   “ok…”

[There, a good old home cooking taste.]

[Relax, relax.]

[You need to eat some vegetables too.]

[Cheer up~]

[Sorry! I overslept!]

Even though there was no reply from him,
I managed to carry on.
Because the bento box was always returned empty.

[I hope the weather clears up.]

[Katsu! (katsu)]

[Congratulations!!]

[It’s really hot day, isn’t it]

[You're growing taller again?]

[Come on, don’t be in a bad mood.]

[Happy Birthday!!]

[We have a good appetite in autumn!]

Once it’s passed, 3 years were not really long time.
And each bento box was filled with tiny memories.

[Award of “You’re studying hard” (LOL)]

And, the last day came.

[Do you remember this bento??]

   “Yes, this is good."
  "I did a great job.”

[Thank you.

I’m sorry I couldn't have told you so.]


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2013/08/25

Je me souviendrai - My first day in Montreal -



Just realized that it’s been already 10 years since I first visited Canada.

Oh Canada.

I wrote about how tough their winter days were like, but the day I landed there was equally hard… or “the longest day of my life” so far…

I ended up working there, but the original intention to go there was to study French for a couple of months. I was 23, just finished my univ and it could be any other francophone countries (like France?) But with recommendation from the person who knows me from childhood, and because there were some musicians that I liked at that time, I chose Montreal, Québec.

Québec is known to be the francophone province in Canada, but in the city of Montreal, at least in downtown/office place, people speak English as well. I thought it was interesting and convenient since I’d never even lived in English speaking country, thinking I could practice both languages at the same time.

Before leaving, I tried to gather as much information as I could. Reading guidebooks, talking to people who’s been there, joining a seminar of Canadian embassy, calling airlines…etc, it was my very first solo trip, so I couldn’t be too prepared or careful… I chose one school from “recommended language school in Montreal” which offers airport pickup and dorm room.

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As you can imagine, I had really nervous flight. For most of the time, I kept pulling out airport maps, connection flight ticket, guidebook or school confirmation paper, and then putting them back. The idea of going to Canada alone used to be exciting like “new country! new life!” but when I actually jumped onto the plane, I felt so anxious and couldn’t believe what I’d done…

So after that uneasy flight (Tokyo-Vancouver-Montreal, 18 hours in total), I finally arrived in Montreal. The city which often described as “Paris of the North”. The city where Rufus Wainwright and Godspeed You! were from. I was moved for a second, but the tiredness beat that quickly… it was around 10pm and I just wanted to lie down… As I was approaching to the arrival gate, I practiced some words in French to tell to school staff; “Bonjour. Merci d'être venu me chercher. (Thank you for picking me up)” I imagined that someone holding a card with my name on it or something…

The arrival gate was not that big place and there weren’t many people. I carefully looked around to spot my name or school name, but no one seemed to have it. So I waited there, assuming the school staff forgot to bring the name card… “I’m the only Asian here, so he/she can guess it’s me from the confirmation paper…”

Half an hour passed. No one came and talked to me. Most of them were gone home and there was just a few people at the arrival gate. I started to ask those people if they were looking for me. Everyone looked puzzled and said no. I felt like I was a little kid waiting for my mom to pick me up at the kindergarten… I even tried to imagine that the person who was supposed to pick me up got sick and tried to check alternatives, so was delayed. (When I look back, I was quite optimistic! :) I waited for another half an hour, and then decided to call the school to check.

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But of course, what kind of school opens after 10pm? There were some numbers but all of them directly went to voicemail… I was in panic mode; The school told me that airport pick-up staff would take me to the dorm, now that he/she doesn’t show up, I don’t know where to go!! I don’t know this city, I don’t know anyone here, all I have is a school address!! Since the airport was about to close, the only option I could think of at that time was, to get a taxi and go to this school address…

You see, when you go to different country, the first local person you speak to is likely to be a taxi driver. And, let’s be honest, taxi drivers tend to have ‘real’ local accent. No one talks like a Audio textbook actors. And for people who studied language for years and finally got the moment to try it with local people, this first contact may destroy their confidence in language skills. To me, it totally did. I couldn’t understand what they were saying… so I just handed the school address.

About 15 minutes later, the taxi driver said something and suddenly stopped the car. He called other taxi drivers from the window and started to talk. (I was just horrified…) And then he told me in English “This address is no in Montreal” while pointing at the street block number. …the school address doesn’t exist?? He and I got off the car and made sure if we didn’t miss anything… but couldn’t find that specific number. (However, there was a school very close to that non-existent address, and I banged and screamed to that building’s door to open. The taxi driver stopped me, I guess it’s his turn to be horrified.) I don’t remember what conversation I had with him after that, but he said he would find a place for me to stay and dropped me off at the dorm-looking house… saying good luck and charging me $80 (FYI: Airport-downtown taxi is usually around $40). Thank you driver.

I can’t recall whether it was a some kind of youth hostel or something else. The place he brought me was flooded with drunk people; entrance and lobby was full of smoke from funny smell cigarettes, and many of them were holding condoms. And the hyper energetic receptionist told me that I should share a room with 5 other fun people. As I felt it was too much after the long flight and hassles, I declined and asked her to call a taxi… while I’m waiting among these cheerful people, I decided to stay at the hotel which is close to that non-existent address… that way it would be easier in the morning, and I really needed to lie down at somewhere peaceful…

So, another taxi came. And another communication with papers and another extortionate charge occurred. But finally I arrived somewhere I can sleep… it was past 1am.

First thing I did after I’d checked in at the hotel was to call the school and left the message to their voicemail. Their voicemail said something more informative than “please leave a message” but I couldn’t understand, so I called like a hundred times. No joke. I was completely exhausted but couldn’t sleep because of massive amount of anxiety. “It should’ve started smoothly… I may need to find a place until I find the school… or maybe I should change my flight and go back...” I called my mom, unpack my baggage and neatly put it back, and spent the whole night holding Yellow Page and crying on the bed.

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After 9am, the school finally answered my call and asked me to come to the school office because “it’s just around the corner”. And they said the address was just a typo. Well, at least the school exists… (At one point, I doubt if it was a setup.) It was a part of the college building and there was no sign of school name in the front, so I went as they instructed.

The school staff took me to the president’s room and I showed him my confirmation paper without saying anything. (Obviously I had millions of things to say but didn’t know where to start...) The administration guy standing at the corner of the room suddenly started to talk to the president to prove it wasn’t his fault. He went “this girl doesn’t understand the language, so she probably thought she registered it in a right way while it actually wasn’t. I couldn’t find any confirmation on my list.” He thought I don’t understand what he said, but my French listening skill seemed to be dramatically improved during the last night’s voicemail lesson – so I pulled another confirmation paper, which was an email correspondence with that administration guy and passed it to them.

After some ugly internal accusations, the admin guy left the room and the president explained to me that my application form for school and dorm were not processed correctly. He said he will find a place for me to stay, pulling up a list of houses, and started to make a call from the top. After an hour or so, he found a house where I can stay from that afternoon. A house which listed at the very bottom of that list. I remember he was begging. I wasn’t expected to live with local family, but he said this “homestay” should be just a temporary thing until he finds a dorm room. (But of course, he never did..)

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The house was situated in very francophone area. (note: In this city, you’ll gradually learn where to switch language by people’s reactions. People in some areas feel very protective about their own language and heritage.) And the room I was taken to was in basement with no curtains and no lock. Well, there was a lock but it was a lock from the outside and not from the inside… I felt strange, but didn’t care much at that time, I hadn’t slept for 2 days and I just needed to sleep… (but later this caused some problems but that’s for another time) It was around 1pm, and right after I closed the room door, I fell asleep….

     … and I think it was around 8 or 9pm, someone tried to wake me up. When I opened my eyes, there was a teenage boy standing next to the bed with very surprised look. I think he asked me like “Are you a friend of my brother?” I said something like “No, this is my bed” and went back to sleeping.

Then, I just slept slept slept till the next morning. And when I got up, I found that teenage boy was sleeping on the couch. Later on, I discovered that the room I stayed in was his room until I arrived. It happened all too sudden and he wasn’t informed from his family at all. So for him, he went to school from his room as usual and came back home as usual, and found unknown Asian girl sleeping in his bed claiming “this is my bed”. Hm, that must have been confusing enough. He never spoke to me since then...

The first photo I took in Montreal. A view from the hotel.
 I thought this will be the first and last photo…

And that was my first day in Canada. It was way too long and stressful start, and when I look back on it, I wonder why I decided to stay in that city for 3 more years :D (But I quit that school after 2 months!) Also, I’m surprised how poorly I handled that situation… if it’s happening now, I would just call a taxi, check in airport nearby hotel, and call up a school next morning (plus, calling an institute which published “recommended school list” very politely). But probably I can say this because now I know a bit of their culture and custom…

Starting that day, so many things had happened. One of the things I realized through those good and bad days was, even though I went to Canada to experience foreign culture and languages, I actually was the someone foreign in that country. (duh, you might say…) So physically I leaped miles and miles away and going “outside”, what I needed to do there was to look inside, reflect on myself. I know some can enjoy and handle it right, but to me it wasn’t always easy to be honest. But I’m glad that I did.

Anyway, everyone has their first time, and this was my “first time”. After 10 years, I’m happy that I can laugh about this and share it with you.


Thank you for reading till the end. :) 




2013/08/22

Quack Quack

Summer greetings from tropical island! …I mean from Japan. The temperature goes up to nearly 40c everyday, and the hygrometer in my room says 80%. ugh... I’m so tuckered out and my hair is unmanageable, but on the bright side, we may soon be able to grow banana tree in the garden… or whatever… (I’m not summer person, that’s all… c’mon autumn…)


Ok, as I just open my blog post from weather topic like an authentic Japanese laydee, let’s get to the point…


There’s awesome duck. Or lucky duck.



This duck “Buttercup” had problem with his or her left foot, and couldn’t walk or swim properly. But with the support and collaboration of engineers and company, he got prosthetic foot which was created by 3D printer. And, look how he's doing in the video :)

There were some news about this duck last month and I kept checking. (This article got many photos and details.)

This video is peaceful and soothing, and reminds me 2 things:
1. Ducks are very pretty.
2. Technology is about how we use it.



2013/08/18

夏とアヒルちゃん

暑い、、暑いですね、、、。
40℃で湿気むんむん”という非常にトロピカルな天気が続いておりますが、皆さまお元気でしょうか。もともと夏に弱い私は、ややヘバリつつ秋の到来を心待ちにしているところであります。もう少しの辛抱だと思って、お互いがんばりましょう・・・。


さて、暑すぎて外出するのが面倒なので自然とおうちで遊ぶ時間が増えているわけですが、ちょっと「涼」がほしいなーと思った時、最近はこればかり見ています・・。


すいすい気持良さそうですよね・・。水浴びが嬉しそうなのもかわいい・・・。
このアヒルはButtercup(バターカップ)ちゃんというアヒルで、今年の梅雨ごろにニュースになっていたアヒルです。生まれながらに左足が悪く、歩くのも大変だったアヒルちゃんですが、エンジニアや企業と協力して3Dプリンタを使い義足を作ってもらったそうです。型は妹(か姉)アヒルのミニーちゃんから取り、その型にシリコンを流し込んで完成。まだまだ慣れるためのトレーニング中らしいですが、上のように泳いだり歩いたりできるようになっています。よかったねえ!

3Dプリンタといえば、けっこう物騒な話があったり、「これがあれば夏休みの工作なんかすぐ出来るんじゃね?」みたいなノリの話が多いのであまり興味はなかったのですが、この一件で大きく見直しました。やっぱり、技術は使い方なんですねぇ…。 


ここの記事に写真がいっぱいあります。

製作途中の動画は、これとかこれとか。

2013/08/11

Interview with Demoscener – Zavie (Ctrl-Alt-Test)


Who would've thought this “interview with demoscener” would have 4th guest?! (I certainly didn't, and this fact makes me super happy!) Japan, Hungary, Finland… as you can see from the guest list, demoscene is fairly international culture…

For this time, I interviewed Zavie from Ctrl-Alt-Test, who knows both European and Japanese demoscene. (He is one of the organizers of Tokyo Demo Fest.) In this interview, he reveals his “highly effective” new demomaking technique, not-so-usual working space and what drives demoscene. (He also shares some of his beautiful photo!)

Enjoy! :)


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First of all, could you please introduce yourself briefly?


photo by Hélène Duong

Hello, my name is Julien Guertault, while in the demoscene people usually know me as Zavie.

By day I work as a programmer and have been doing so for almost ten years now. At this moment I am in the game industry, but this was not always the case. Naturally in the group Ctrl-Alt-Test, which was created four years ago by LLB and I, my role has to do with programming too, although I also try to wear the designer's hat.


When and how did you find demoscene? And what process did you go through before releasing your first demo?

I think my first contact with the demoscene was around 1995, when I bought a programming magazine that happened to feature an article about the Euskal Party (computer party held in Spain). I had absolutely no idea what this was about and I didn't quite understand, but I remember running those programs that seemed to serve no other purpose than to show cool stuff on the screen.

It's only years later, when I was a student around 2002, that I was exposed to the demoscene culture. With a couple of other students we would watch demos, be in awe before fr-08, “Mojo Dream” or Conspiracy's first demo... “BB was also a popular demo among Linux users.

But it's in 2009 that I joined the demoscene, when LLB asked me if I'd be interested in forming a group and attending Breakpoint (demoparty held in Germany) a month later. So I really am a newcomer.


I believe your other members reside in Europe. How do you work with them? Is there any specific workflow that you follow?

Back when we were living in the same city, we would gather during weekends to work on our demo, while chatting and having lunch and dinner together. Those are very good memories, but now that we all live in different countries, this time is long gone.

So now it's all distant work, which has its advantages. For example, working together in a same place is very motivating. But surprisingly, working from different time zones is also very motivating: you get up in the morning and see how the demo has evolved while you were asleep.

We're experimenting various things but in the end we don't really have a specific way of working.


That’s interesting. Then let me pick one for example: “F - Felix's Workshop” I like this demo, because it features many wooden toys and it got soft and warm feel. How did you work on this demo? Did it take much time to create?


Originally, “F” was an idea suggested by LLB: he wanted to make some kind of Animusic like demo. As we were working on the concept we thought merely doing a copy of something created twenty years ago and that looked better already at the time, would be uninteresting. It had to bring something different. So this idea of impersonating the instruments, the story around them and, ultimately, the story of their creator, took shape.

Writing it wasn't particularly hard, but proved to be very time consuming because our tools are still very rudimentary. So it unfolded over about nine months, although there were periods of less activity than others.


…And this demo was selected in SIGGRAPH real-time live reel this year.  Congratulations! :)

Hearing that "F – Felix's workshop" was selected to be shown at the Computer Animation Festival was completely unexpected, and a really good news. I'm quite proud to see our work listed on the SIGGRAPH website.


On a personal level, regardless of what theme or size of demo you’re working on, do you set your own rule or goal? Is there anything you really care about when you make demo?

Not really. We know when it's done, simply because it's passed the point we'd be ashamed of having it on big screen, and any additional amount of work would be beyond what we're ready to invest.

That's one of the strengths of demomaking compared to other kinds of personal projects: the competitions and demoparties give you a target, a goal. At some point you have to release, then you can move on to the next demo.


(Unfortunately I won’t be able to understand.. but here’s one for readers who makes demo…) What program do you use to make demo? Do you create your own tool?

Our tool-chain is an ever evolving one. Our bread and butter is Visual Studio and a couple of tools from other demoscene people (kb's soft synth V2, Gopher's 4klang, IQ's size coding framework, ryg's kkrunchy or Mentor and Blueberry's Crinkler are classics). We don't use tools like Werkkzeug (demotool provided by Farbrausch) though, we have a more ad hoc approach.

Recently we started writing a tiny tool to make it easier and faster to fine tune some elements. If it proves to work well for us, it might grow into something bigger. I think the key is really to reduce the iteration time: the time it takes between the moment you decide to change something and the moment you see the result.

For our last demo, which is still under development, I wanted to experiment something new. I noticed that even when we think we have a very precise idea of how a demo is going to unfold, after actually writing it some problems appear: holes in the storyline, parts that are boring, scenes that just don't work...

Writing a demo takes a lot of time, at least for us. Noticing weaknesses in the storyline only after the demo is written is a problem.

So this time I tried to start with writing a storyboard first, just like the ones you see in filmmaking. The idea of having to draw every single scene felt daunting, but it actually proved to be much less work than expected. It was fun even. Just crude sketches of how the scenes would look on screen.

After it was done, I put them together with the music in a preview video. Even though it was very rough, it immediately highlighted the problems of our storyline: scenes that were too long or with too little happening, camera angles that were wrong, scenes that needed to be reordered...

This experiment was a success: with only little work we already knew what was wrong in our storyline and could correct it. So I plan to use this again in the future.


Can’t wait to see that, and be sure to reveal some from your storyboard! :) Ok, um… Could you show us where your demo is born?

A sunny run to Tokyo
photo by zavie

What the…? Is this your workspace??

To be honest a significant part of my work on demo is actually done in the train while commuting. I almost always have a notepad with me, which I use to sort my thoughts out and sketch scenes. Most of the story of “D” (D - Four), and many sketches of “F” were born in the train. Sometimes I take my laptop too and code if I am motivated enough. It forces me to do small chunks of work.




Mobile office :) But it’s kind of hard to believe that demo was born in the commuter’s train…

Well, a part of it. :) For example these sketches were probably drawn in the train (although I don't remember for sure).
zavie has shares some drawings and “work in progress” photo on this Pouet thread.

By the way, that train photo looks great. Aside from demo making, you take beautiful photos on your spare time. Seems like your creative “output” is quite visual, but what about “input”? I mean, how do you nourish your creativity?

It is just as visual. Community websites like Flickr and Vimeo, for example, are an endless source of inspiration. Many very talented people, amateurs and professionals, put their work there for anyone to see. It's a very good way to learn, and over the years I've become more demanding in terms of aesthetics and artistic maturity.

Instants of life
"Instants of life" by zavie

Convey
"Convey" by zavie

Testing the Himeji Castle
"Testing the Himeji Castle" by zavie

Tokyo Sunday
"Tokyo Sunday" by zavie
(To see more of his photos, check out his Flickr page.)


Can I ask some ‘personal’ questions? (Obviously this is already personal, but..) You’re originally from France but now you reside in Tokyo. What brings you here?

Simply the opportunity. It was the right time and I could, so I did. I can't tell you where I'll be tomorrow, but for now this is where I am.


And how’s Japan treating you? When do you realize “gosh! I’m in Japan now”? (good thing, bad thing, any remarks are fine! I don’t blame you :)

It doesn't happen much anymore, but I remember sitting in the morning train among the so-called “salary men” and “office ladies”, looking around me and thinking to myself: "Boy, I'm on my way to work, IN TOKYO!".

I suppose living in any country has its pros and cons. In the end, what mostly matters, apart from the obvious basic needs, are the small things, that we often take for granted without realizing they're part of what makes it pleasing living there. They define how it feels to live there.

E
"E" by zavie

And you’re one of the organizers of Tokyo DemoFest. I read your blog post about Tokyo Demo Fest 2013, and it was very interesting to know your take around Japanese demoparty because you know the European demo culture very well. (Didn’t you say you witnessed “Elavated” on live??) What do you think about demo culture in Japan in general?

Yes, Elevated was released at Breakpoint 2009, which happens to be the first demoparty I attended. Somewhere between 500 and 1000 people were in that hall, watching the PC 4k competition, which was really good already, and then, out of nowhere, there was... that.

From the first second, everybody was completely blown away. It was a massive slap in the face for the whole audience. Every once in a while something that wasn't thought to be possible is shown, and people are excited. But this was a whole new level, this wasn't even supposed to happen, it was so ridiculously better than everything else, it was unreal, it was amazing.

This feeling fuels the demoscene in my opinion. It is part of why groups take part in competitions, it is part of why people attend demoparties, it is part of why people organize demoparties: to experience that feeling again.

And I believe this is also what fuels the Japanese demoscene. A few enthusiasts took the leap and attended European demoparties, even though the distance, even though the cultural gap, and they experienced it. Now they want to share with people here that feeling of being part of a crowd, of hearing their reaction when it is your work that is being shown for the very first time on big screen.

Starting a new demoparty is a daunting task: everything has to be done. Starting the first demoparty of the country even more so. Yet they did: they found a first location, some sponsors, and spread the word. Fast forward three years later, the last edition of Tokyo Demo Fest was a massive success, and the fourth edition is already on the way. This is something to be proud of in my opinion.


TDF Twitter feed says that next one will be on March 21, 22, 23 in 2014 at the same place as this year. Is this decided?

Yes, absolutely. Friday is a public holiday, so we though it'd be more convenient for Japanese visitors. Also notice next year it's going to be a three days event!


If you can recommend a few spot in Tokyo or Japan to fellow sceners, where would that be?

Tokyo Demo Fest of course!

:D …And?

Other than that, Tokyo has a thousand faces, it is a mix of complete chaos and rules followed strictly, a combination of classic and modern architecture, as well as, all too often, just boring functional one. :)

Financial districts like Shinjuku West and Shinagawa or crazy neon ones like Shibuya are some must see of course. But I also find the gloomy back streets of Kanda to be very inspiring, especially late at night.

Dark street in Kanda
"Dark street in Kanda" by zavie

Wow, it IS dark.. :) and it’s quite funny to have this much dark place just a few blocks away from Akihabara (Electric Town)…
Ok, time to shoot this classic question. your favorite demo, memorable demo, demo that changed your life… anything… tell us a demo which is special to you.

I don't think I have one favorite demo. There are a couple of demos that I love and have watched many times, like 1995” (video) orYou Should (video) for example, which I both dig for their message.

People wise, I like Preacher's simple and candid style, and I am a great fan of the work of Pixtur. He's very talented and all the demos he's worked on stand out in terms of direction a visual coherence.


Big question. What is demoscene/demo to you? Why do you make demo?

A part of it is a way of expression, a way of combining orthogonal passions for visual art and computer technique and making sense out of them.

Another part is probably the pursuit of a sense of achievement. You might craft your art, or whatever you're doing, on your own and maybe get good at it. But without anybody else seeing it, it's of little use. Releasing a demo means you're exposing your work to eye of others and accept that they may not like it.

Last but not least, it's an excellent way to evacuate the frustration one might experience at work. Commercial interests inherently driving work at the office are often incompatible with artistic freedom, and interfere with the technical side too. When making a demo, one has complete freedom, which interestingly brings new problems. :)


What type of demo do you want to make in the future? Is there any dream or goal that you want to achieve in the scene?

I don't think there is such a thing as a dream or goal for me. Demomaking is about art, pursuing something rather personal, honing your skills and exploring your mean of expression. If there were a goal, it would be depressing: what would you do after you reached it? I have a couple of concepts I'd like to try in the future, and surely LLB does too. But by the time we'll be working on it, we'll have new ideas we'll want to explore too.


Then you don’t have to worry about running out of ideas… which is great for us viewers too. Keep it coming :) And finally, your message for demosceners and demo fans out there please.

It's ok to go to a demoparty without a prod. Even if it's better to have one. But after attending a demoparty, chances are you will want to make something. A demoparty is a truly inspirational moment, in its most raw form: most people I've seen attending their first demoparty wanted to create something right away, and would swear they'd come back with a prod next time.

In that regards, I think demoparties are doing better than many art exhibitions. When was the last time you went to a museum and felt inspired to craft something as a result?


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Thank you very much Zavie, for taking this interview and allow me to use some of your wonderful photos!!

If you want to want to see more demos from Ctrl-Alt-Test, check out their group site and Pouet demo-graphy. And on his blog, zavie is sharing some resources around demo, 3D rendering and photography. (Plus, on his French blog, you can read what he experiences in Tokyo life… and more.)

Thank you very much for reading! :)

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- In case you’re wondering what “demo” or “demoscene” is, better check out the well-made documentary called Moleman2.  (and the director, M. Szilárd Matusik's interview can be read in here.)

#1: Interview with Demoscener: q from nonoil/gorakubu is here.
#2: Interview with Demoscener: Gargaj from Conspiracy, Ümlaüt Design is here.
#3: Interview with Demoscener: Preacher from Brainstorm, Traction is here.

- For some of my posts related to “demo and “demoscene” culture is here.

デモシーナー、Zavieさん(Ctrl-Alt-Test)にインタビュー


「デモシーナーにインタビュー」、4回目(!)となる今回はアルファベットの作品名がユニークなCtrl-Alt-Testのコーダーを務める、Zavieさんにインタビューをお願いしました。フランス出身のZavieさんですが、現在は日本に在住されていて、日本のデモパーティー「Tokyo Demo Fest」のオーガナイザーの1人でもあります。

そんな日本とヨーロッパのデモシーンに詳しいZavieさんに、最近新しく導入したという「効率的なデモの制作方法」や、日本のデモシーンについての考え、東京のおすすめ散歩スポットなどをうかがいました。(驚きの作業現場の公開もアリ!)

どうぞお楽しみください!

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まずは簡単に自己紹介をお願いできますか?


photo by Hélène Duong

こんにちは、ジュリアン・ゲート(Julien Guertault)です。デモシーンでは”Zavie”という名前で活動しています。日中はプログラマーとして働いているんですが、この仕事を初めてから、もう10年ぐらいになりますね。今はゲーム業界にいますが、以前は別の産業のプログラマーをしていたこともあります。

”Ctrl-Alt-Test”LLBと僕とで4年前に結成したグループで、ここでもプログラミングを担当しています。仕事でもプログラムを組んでいるので自然な流れといえばそうなんですが、プログラミングの他にデザインを担当することもあります。


デモシーンとはどんなきっかけで、いつ出会ったのでしょう?出会いから最初のデモをリリースするまでの経緯を教えてもらえますか?

デモシーンと初めて出会ったのは、1995年ごろだったと思います。プログラミングの雑誌を買ったら、その中に「Euskal Party(スペインで開催されるコンピューターのパーティー)のことが載っていたんです。それが何のことなのかは全く知りませんでしたし、記事を見てもよく理解できなかったんですが、それに付いてきたプログラムを実行したのは覚えていますね。“画面でカッコイイものを見せる”ことだけが目的のものなんだと思った記憶があります。

「デモシーンの文化」に実際に触れるようになったのは、2002年あたりです。当時は学生だったので、よく何人かで集まってデモを見るようになりました。「fr-08」や「Mojo Dream」、Conspiracyの第1作目に、ただただ圧倒されていましたね…。それと、Linuxユーザーの間では、BBも人気のデモでした。

でも、見るだけでなく自分でも参加するようになったのは2009年のことです。LLBが、“一緒にグループを組んで、来月のBreakpoint(ドイツで開催されていたデモパーティー)に出ないか”と誘ってくれたのがきっかけでした。だから、まだまだ新参者なんですよ。


たしかグループの他のメンバーの方はヨーロッパにお住まいだったような気がするんですが、どのように作業を進めているのでしょうか?何か決まった作業の流れなどはありますか?

メンバーが同じ町に住んでいた頃は、よく週末に集まって、話したり、ランチや夕食を取ったりしながらデモを作っていましたね。今はそれぞれが別の国に住んでいるので無理ですが、とても良い思い出です。

そんなわけで、今は離れた場所から作業をする形をとっています。もちろん集まって作ればモチベーションは上がりますが、別々のタイムゾーンで作業することにも利点はありますし、意外とモチベーションも上がるんですよ。自分が眠っている間にも作業が進んでいるので、朝起きるとデモがどんな風になったのか確認できるんです。

作業の流れに関してはグループでいろんな方法を試していますが、特にこれと決まったものはないですね。

なるほど。ではこちらで1つ作品を選ぶので、そのデモについて説明してもらえますか?「F - Felix's Workshop」はどうでしょう。この作品には木のおもちゃがたくさん登場して、温かみのある雰囲気が好きなのですが、これはどのように制作したのでしょうか?時間はかかりましたか?


もともと「F - Felix's Workshop」は、Animusicみたいなデモが作りたいとLLBが提案してきたアイデアだったんです。でも、そのコンセプトに取り組んでいるうちに、“ただ20年前の作品をコピーするだけではつまらない”と感じるようになりました。20年前の段階ですでに良くできていたものでしたし、何か違ったものを取り入れなければと思ったんです。それで、楽器がひとりでに演奏を始めるというアイデアから、最終的には楽器の製作者が登場するというストーリーを考えました。

言葉にすると簡単そうに聞こえますが、使っているツールも基本的なものだったので、制作にはすごく時間がかかりましたね。あまり作業をしなかった時期も含めると、だいたい9ヵ月くらいかかりました。


お疲れさまでした…。そういえば、先日行われたSIGGRAPHでは、このデモがReal-time live reelの上映作品に選ばれていましたよね。おめでとうございます!

F - Felix's Workshop」がSIGGRAPH「コンピューター・アニメーション・フェスティバル」で上映されると聞いた時は、予想外のことで本当に驚きましたし、すごく嬉しかったですね。作品がSIGGRAPHのウェブサイトに掲載されたことを、とても光栄に思っています。


テーマやデモのサイズに関わらず、これだけは譲れない!というところや、自分なりのルールや目標を決めたりしていますか?デモを作るとき、特に気をつけていることがあれば教えてください。

いえ、特に何も決めていません。大きなスクリーンで公開しても恥ずかしくないものができれば完成だと思っていますし、それ以上の作業をすることは考えてないんです。

それに、他の個人プロジェクトと比較した場合に、そこがデモ作りのメリットの1つだと思うんですよ。デモの場合は、コンポやパーティーが目標になるので、どこかのタイミングでリリースしなければなりませんからね。リリースしてしまえば、次の作品に取りかかることができます。


(残念ながら私には理解できない部分ですが、デモを作ってる方のためにお願いします…) どんなプログラムを使ってデモを制作していますか?自作のデモツールを使ったりしていますか?

グループで使っているツールは、少しずつ進化してきていますね。基本となるのはVisual Studioと、他のデモシーナーが作ったツールです。(定番はkbsoft synth V2Gopher4klangIQsize coding frameworkrygkkrunchyMentor & BlueberryCrinklerです。)ただ、WerkkzeugFarbrauschが提供しているデモツール)のようなデモツールは使わずに、もっとアドホックなアプローチを取っています。

最近、いくつかの要素を簡単に微調整するためのちょっとしたツールを作り始めたんです。うまく機能するものができれば、グループ以外にも公開するようなものになるかもしれませんね。キーとなるのは、何かを変更しようと思ってからその結果を見るまでにかかる“イテレーションの時間を短縮すること”です。

まだ制作途中ではあるんですが、最新作のデモでは、何か新しいことをやってみたいと思っていました。というのも、作品の展開や流れについて、かなり明確なアイデアを持っていると思っていても、作り始めると必ず問題が出てくることに気がついたんです。ストーリーに穴があったり、退屈な部分や、うまく機能していないシーンがあったりとか…。短時間でさっとデモを作れる人もいると思いますが、僕らにとっては時間のかかる作業なので、作り終わった後に不具合が見つかると大変なんですよ。

それで、今回は映画を作る時のように、ストーリーボードを描くことから始めてみたんです。すべてのシーンを描くとなると、かなり手間がかかりそうな気がしていたんですが、実際には想像していたほどではなくて、むしろ楽しい作業でした。ストーリーボードといっても、画面でシーンをどんな風に見せるのか雑にスケッチしたものですけどね。

スケッチしたら、それを音楽と合わせてプレビュー動画で見てみるんです。すごく荒い作りではあるんですが、ストーリーの流れに問題がある場合はここですぐに分かります。長すぎるシーンや、アクションが少なすぎるシーンもそうですし、カメラのアングルが間違っているとか、順番を入れ替えないといけないシーンなんかも、ここでチェックするんです。

この方法は大成功でしたね。それほど手間もかからずに、ストーリーのどこが間違っているのか把握できましたし、そうなれば、あとはその部分を修正するだけで済みますから。今後もこの方法を使っていきたいなと思っています。


公開が楽しみです。公開したあと、どこかでストーリーボードもちらっと見せてくださいね!(笑) さて、、厚かましいお願いで恐縮なのですが、あなたのデモが生まれる現場を見せていただけませんか…?

A sunny run to Tokyo
photo by zavie


えっ? これはどういうことですか?(笑)

実を言うと、作業の大部分は通勤電車の中でやってるんです。大体いつもメモ帳を持ち歩いているので、そこに考えをまとめたり、シーンをスケッチしたりしています。「DD - Fourのストーリーと「F」のスケッチは、ほとんど電車の中で生まれたものですね。気分が乗っているときには、ラップトップを持ち込んでコーディングをすることもあります。細かい作業をするのに適した場所ですね。




「動くオフィス」ですね。(笑) あのデモも通勤電車の中で生まれたのか、と考えると少し信じられない気もしますが…

といっても、すべてではないですけどね。(笑) はっきり覚えているわけではないんですが、このへんのスケッチは電車の中で描いたものだと思います。

Pouetの「制作途中」スレッドで公開されたZavieさんのスケッチより

ところで、先ほどの電車の写真は素敵ですね。デモ作りの他にも、空いた時間には写真を撮っていると伺いました。デモに写真と、あなたの表現は視覚的なものが多い気がしますが、アイデアや発想を得る場合はどうでしょうか?

それも視覚的にやっていますね。例を挙げると、FlickrVimeoなどのコミュニティウェブサイトはインスピレーションを得るのにいつも役立っています。プロ・アマ問わずとても才能のある人が自分の作品を公開していますから、とても良い勉強にもなります。美的感覚や芸術的な完成度という点では、自分の見る目がかなり厳しくなってきていると思いますよ。

Instants of life
"Instants of life" by zavie

Convey
"Convey" by zavie

Testing the Himeji Castle
"Testing the Himeji Castle" by zavie

Tokyo Sunday
"Tokyo Sunday" by zavie
Flickrのページでは、他にもさまざまな写真を公開されています。)


少し個人的なことを聞いてもいいですか?(とは言っても、すでにかなり突っ込んではいますけど…) あなたはフランス出身ですが、現在は東京に住んでいますよね。どんなきっかけで日本にいらしたのですか?

単純に「そうするチャンスがあったから」なんです。タイミングも良かったですし、自分にできることだったので日本に来ました。今後どうなるかは分かりませんけどね。


日本で暮らしてみていかがですか?どんな時に「いま日本に住んでいるんだな!」と実感しますか? 怒ったりしませんので、正直にお答えください(笑)

今はもうそう感じることが少なくなってきましたね。ただ、「サラリーマン」や「OL」と呼ばれる人たちに混じって朝の電車に乗っていた時に、周りを見渡して“あぁ、東京で働いているんだなぁ!”と実感したのは覚えています。

どの国に住んでも、メリットとデメリットはあると思うんです。結局、基本的なニーズというのを除けば、大事なのは“ささいなこと”だったりしますよね。そこで暮らしている時には、あまりに当然すぎて良さに気付かなかったようなこと、、それがその場所の住み心地を決めるものだと思います。


E
"E" by zavie

Zavieさんは日本のデモパーティー、Tokyo DemoFestのオーガナイザーの1人でもありますね。今年行われたTokyo Demo Fest 2013についてブログ記事でも書かれていましたが、ヨーロッパのデモシーン文化を知っている方の視点を知るのはとても興味深かったです。(パーティーでお会いしたときに、今や伝説となっている“Elavated”の公開現場にいたと話されていたのを覚えています。うらやましい!) 日本のデモシーンの文化をどう思われますか?


初めて参加したデモパーティーが2009年のBreakpointだったんですが、“Elavated”はそこでリリースされたんですよ。会場には5001000人ぐらいの人がいて、PC 4k部門のコンポを見ていました。それで、”すごく良いコンポだな…“と思っていたところに、突然あの作品が登場したんです。


スクリーンに映った瞬間、そこにいた誰もが完全に圧倒されていました。衝撃的でしたよ。時々ですが、不可能だと思っていたことをやってのけるデモが登場すると、みんな興奮するんです。でも、あれはそういう次元の問題ではありませんでしたね。“ありえないことが起きてしまった”作品でしたし、他のものとは明らかに格が違っていました。現実とは思えないくらい素晴らしいものだったんです。

個人的には、この感覚がデモシーンを支えていると思っています。グループがコンポに作品を出す理由、デモパーティーに参加する理由、デモパーティーを開催する理由…。これらの理由の一部は、“あの感覚”をもう一度体験するためなんじゃないかと思うんです。

それと、これは日本のデモシーンの原動力にもなっていると感じています。そこに文化の違いはあるにせよ、熱心な日本のデモシーナーの方は、はるばるヨーロッパまで足を運んでデモパーティーを体験してきているんです。会場に集った大勢の人と一体になる感覚とか、大スクリーンで自分の作品が公開された時に聞こえる観客の反応とか…、あの感覚を、今度は日本の人たちとも共有したいと考えたんですね。

新たにデモパーティーを始めるというのは、気が滅入るくらい大変なことなんです。国内で初の開催となれば、尚更のことですね。会場探し、スポンサー探し、宣伝と、何もかも自分たちでやらなければなりませんから。でも、日本のオーガナイザーの人たちは、そのタスクを見事にこなしてきましたよ。3回目となった今年のTokyo Demo Fest 2013は大成功でした。もう4回目の開催も決まっていますし、これは誇りに思うべきことだと考えています。


Tokyo Demo FestTwitterでは、来年(2014年)は、3212223日の開催となっていましたね。

そうなんです。21日(金)が祝日になるので、その日から始めたほうが、日本の方にとって好都合かなと思ったんです。それと、お気付きかと思いますが、来年は3日間の開催になります!


日本や東京を訪れるデモシーナーの方に、どこかおすすめのスポットはありますか?

それはもちろん、Tokyo Demo Festでしょう!


はい(笑)、あとはどうですか?

東京はさまざまな顔を持つ都市なんです。“混沌を極めた状態”と“厳格なルールで管理されたもの”が入り混じっていたり、クラシックな建築とモダンな建築、それに機能的で退屈なものが組み合わされたりしている場所ですね。(笑)

西新宿や品川などのビジネス街や、渋谷などのネオン街はもちろん必見のスポットだと思いますが、個人的には、神田の薄暗い路地なんかも刺激的だと思いますね。遅い時間帯だと特に良いです。

Dark street in Kanda
"Dark street in Kanda" by zavie

たしかに刺激的!(笑) 秋葉原のネオンから少し離れたところに、こんなに暗い場所があるというのも面白いですね。 それでは定番の質問にいきましょうか。好きなデモ、心に残るデモ、影響を受けたデモ、、または人生を変えたデモ… あなたにとって特別なデモを教えてください。

「いちばん好きなデモ」というのはないと思いますが、すごく好きで何度も見ているデモはいくつかありますね。「1995」(動画)や「You Should」(動画などがそうです。2つとも、作品に込められたメッセージに惹かれました。

デモシーナーで言うと、Preacherのシンプルで率直なスタイルが好きですね。それと、Pixturの作品の大ファンなんです。すごく才能のある人ですし、彼の作る作品は、視覚的な一貫性という点で傑出していますね。



それでは、大きな質問になりますが、Zavieさんはなぜデモを作るのですか? あなたにとってのデモ、デモシーンとは何ですか?

1つは、これが自分の表現方法だからということですね。つまり、「視覚芸術」と「コンピューター技術」への情熱を組み合わせて、それらを意味のあるものに変えることができる方法だからです。

それともう1つは、「達成感を追求できるから」でしょうね。アート作品でも何でもいいんですが、作っているうちに上達してきたとします。でも、誰にも見せないのであれば、あまり役には立ちませんよね。デモをリリースするということは他人に自分の作品を公開するということですし、他人からの批評を受け入れるということでもあります。

あとは、仕事でたまったイライラを解消させるのにも絶好の方法だと思いますね。ビジネスを動かしている商業的な関心というのは、もともと芸術的な自由とは相容れないもので、技術面にも制約をかけるものなんです。その点、デモ制作は完全に自由ですからね。だからこそ生まれる悩みもありますが(笑)


今後はどんな作品を作っていきたいと思いますか?デモシーンでやってみたい夢や目標はありますか?

夢とか目標っていうのは、僕にはないと思います。デモ作りは芸術活動で、何か個人的なものの追求であったり、スキルを磨くことであったり、自己表現の方法を探求することだと思うんです。目標を決めてしまうと、達成してしまった場合に、“これからどうするのか?”と考えて辛くなったりするかもしれませんからね。今後やってみたいコンセプトはいくつかありますし、LLBにもあると思うんですが、実際に取り掛かってみると、他にもやってみたいアイデアが浮かんでくるものなんです。


では、ネタ切れになる心配はありませんね。見る側としても安心です(笑) それでは最後にデモシーナー、デモファンの方にメッセージをお願いします。

もちろん作品があるほうが良いのですが、自分で作品を作っていなくてもデモパーティーには参加できます。でも参加してみると、自分でも作ってみたいという気分になると思いますよ。生で体験するデモパーティーは、インスピレーションが得られる本当に刺激的な場所です。僕が知る限り、初めてデモパーティーに参加した人のほとんどがすぐに自分でも何かを作りたくなっていましたね。それで、“次は必ず作品を持って参加する”って言うんです。

その点で考えると、デモパーティーは他のアートの展覧会よりも効力がありますね。だって、美術館に行った後に、自分でも何か作ってみようと思ったことってありますか?


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インタビューだけでなく、素敵な写真を何枚も提供していただいたZavieさん。お忙しいところを、どうもありがとうございました!

Ctrl-Alt-Testのデモ作品は、グループのウェブサイトPouetの一覧でも公開されています。(作品のページにあるYouTubeVideoのリンクをクリックすると、ファイルをダウンロードしなくても簡単にデモを動画で見ることができます。)それから、Zavieさんのブログでは、デモや3Dレンダリング、写真についてのリソースも提供されています。ご興味のある方は是非チェックしてみてくださいませ。(それと、フランス語のブログでは、日本で体験したことなどの記事が載っています。Suica失くしてつらかったとか…。)


最後までお読みいただき、ありがとうございました!

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- そもそも“デモ”ってなに?パソコンの話?と思った方は、まずはこちらのMoleman2のドキュメンタリーを見るべし。(この映画の監督、シラードさんのインタビューはこちらでどうぞ。)

#1: 日本のデモシーナー、qさん(nonoilgorakubuのコーダー)にインタビューは、こちら
#2: デモシーナー、Gargajさん(ConspiracyÜmlaüt Design)にインタビューは、こちら
#3: デモシーナー、Preacherさん(Brainstorm、Traction)にインタビューは、こちら

- その他、「デモ」と「デモシーン」に関連する投稿はこちら

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