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10 How Iconoclast spawned demoshows in Canada by Axel

on Wed 05 Mar 2008 by Axel author listemail the content item print the content item create pdf file of the content item

in ZINE powered by BitFellas > ZINE #13

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How Iconoclast spawned demoshows in Canada
by Axel of Brainstorm

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With the demo group Andromeda Software Development (ASD) being a Greek team, it may be hard to believe that their winning demo of Assembly 2005, "Iconoclast" had any direct influence on people in Canada who weren't familiar with the Demoscene yet. But that's exactly what happened. The key to the story is a woman named Ahoo Pirsoleimani, nicknamed Aasemoon. ZINE sat down with her to find out about how everything came to be.

The discovery

Aasemoon was born in Iran on April 20th in 1983 and moved to Canada at the age of 18. Being interested in technology, she acquired degrees in programming and web-development, and is currently studying electrical engineering and robotics.

Ahoo Pirsoleimani

She got to know about the Demoscene rather late. The major reason is that she has mainly lived in parts of the world where there really are no Demoscene-related events or activities happening. It was sometime in June 2006 when she came across the word "Demoscene" for the first time, and quite by accident too. At that time she was learning the Greek language on her own, and she was looking for resources on the web to help her out with the pronunciations. While looking for Greek communities on the web, she came across the Greek Demoscene community that got her curiosity boiling. Following some links in the discussion threads she landed on the pouet.net page for ASD's Iconoclast. "Well, I guess you can imagine what happens if the first demo you ever see is Iconoclast," says Aasemoon with a smile. "That's how the whole story got started. I was so deeply awed and impressed by everything about that demo that I watched it about 10 times in a row and then I started digging for more demos and more demo groups, and learning about the Demoscene in general."

Digesting the experience

When she first came across the ASD demos, she wrote an article in her blog to share what she had found with anybody who could have been interested. The article received great response. Somehow aMUSiC and Amoivikos of ASD seemed to have come across it too, and that's how they got in touch with Aasemoon. "They told me all about the scene, what it's about and how it works," says Aasemoon. "Most of what I know about how a demo is born and developed, and about the Demoscene in general, comes from them. They've also helped me out with those Greek pronunciations."

"The ASD demos are some of the most
meaningful ones I have seen."

Her fascination with all things ASD is hard for her to pinpoint. "Most of the demos I have seen from ASD have put butterflies in my stomach and tears in my eyes," she elaborates. "They have created such amazing works of art for the eyes to see and the ears to hear. But I think what fascinates me most about their demos are the concepts. The ASD demos are some of the most meaningful ones I have seen."

Spreading the word

Aasemoon was so fascinated by the Demoscene, in fact, that she started spreading the word in Canada what the scene was all about. As in other areas of the world, this happened by means of hosted demo-shows, where demos are displayed on a big screen. In 2006 when some of the image arts students in her university were having a bit of an open house, she had the chance to set up a small demo show in one of the university theatre rooms. "It wasn't such a long show, and at that point we only watched a few demos," she explains. "The feedback, however, was huge. It seemed that the audience enjoyed the show a lot. So, a few months later I gathered a group of people from several faculties and we arranged a full-featured demo show, including demos from a large number of groups and various styles and platforms. A huge number of people showed up, and it turned to be quite an event."

And that has been repeating every now and then. However, although the demo shows have some serious fans and usually boil up a lot of emotions in many of the viewers, they haven't quite produced the result Aasemoon was looking for. "I was mainly trying to find people who could be interested in producing rather than just watching, and that simply doesn't seem to happen!"

People gather up to watch demos or help with the hosting of the shows when they can and care to. The people who regularly show up are mainly the students of image arts, engineering and computer science from a few nearby universities. But, especially in the more crowded events, there are people from pretty much all over Ontario, and even other provinces. Aasemoon has been trying to make a bit more of a solid club out of it and she encourages people to think about making demos. "I have tried sharing code examples that I had, thanks to Amoivikos, and putting up contests for the artists to come up with something, but so far it's been somewhat hopeless I'm afraid."

"I was mainly trying to find people who
could be interested in producing rather
than just watching."

Nevertheless, the shows prove to provoke impressive reactions. "This is one of the most entertaining aspects of the demo shows," confirms Aasemoon. "A lot of people who come to the shows are seeing demos for the first time in their life, and some of their reactions are quite interesting. I have seen people suddenly standing up with their mouths open, crying, shouting and simply becoming speechless. There are people who show more interest in the technical aspects of the demos, and there are ones who like to forget about what's behind the scenes and just enjoy the art. There's often a ton of questions as to who made the demos, why, how, where, when, and then they ask how much work it involves." And that's usually where the questions end.

"They often wonder how the Demoscene came to be, and I've even had people asking how come the creators of the demos spend so much time and energy producing a demo and then release it for free!"

Probably that's what the Demoscene spirit is all about.

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