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icm 2006 - Demoscene - Mathematics in Movement
People who know me a little know than I like maths. I'm just engineer, so even if I continuously read papers about computer graphics and periodically try to go deeper in my understanding of maths, my abilities are more or less limited. However I still enjoy a lot playing around with maths. Maths is in fact a tool for few of my creative hobbies, as the demoscene. Those who know me a bit better also know that I love explaining people how this can happen, how one can use simple maths (as those taught at school) in order to make colors or sound.

The International Congress of Mathematicians was my opportunity to move this divulgative passion one step further for the first time. Javier Barrallo, my introductor to the artistic side of fractals and a very special math teacher, and Raul Ibañez, a dedicated math divulgator, gave me the opportunity to prepare an event about Demoscene and mathematics.

Demoscene had been the subject of many expositions before, but I think this was the first time the relationship between maths and demoscene was emphasized - something really rare since maths is one of the three main ingredients of demoscene (maths, computer technology and art). At the same time I could try to make understand the creative side of the mathematics in demoscene: the use of simple expressions to draw textures, move objects, make sounds, or even sculpt models and the experimental/intuitive process of continous tunning and tweaking of parameters and formulas until we get what we are looking for: the most impressive possible effect on the screen.

I invited two demosceners to speak with me and let them show the audience how their demos were build from the mathematically creative point of view. Navis/ASD (Kostar Pataridis) and Bonzaj/Plastic (Michal Staniszewski) helped me on this task, and I think we actually offered a very complete view of my original idea; at least I was very pleased with the result. Plus the fact of showing regular people the demos of Plastic and ASD if for sure a good way to attract their attention.

So we made three speeches, two times each both at the ICM and also in the Conde Duque cultural center in Madrid, the later for regular people. There, we included a hall for a demoscene exposition that last for few weeks, with a DVD looping with a demo selection I made, just next to a fractal art exposition and another experimental math exposition. Unexpectedly, we got very good acceptance and people even made queue on the street to enter the expositions.

Our demoscene speeches in the ICM were of course a bit technical, but for the Conde Duque we made them quite more generic, showing more "noise and colors" than slides of course. People were impressed, they made many questions and we got a lot of positive feedback, especially in the form of "You HAVE TO show all this to the general public, in the media, go to schools and university, this is fantastic....". Well, that was like a dream for me. In the ICM they were more impressed by the technological side instead, they found impressive that "all that in 64 kilobytes?!" and "that is realtime???", but still got the main idea I wanted to transmit them: "this guys do really enjoy maths and have developed a intuitive and creative way of using it!"

Now, the interesting part, the presentations :)

I separated the presentation slides from the rest of the material so you can download separately. Not all the material we shown is here, since some parts are still not released to the demoscene community and thus is still kind of "work in progress" or "secrets". We also shown more material not made by any of the three of us, but I didn't upload them here since they can be accessed in the internet..

Michal Kostas Inigo
Slides Slides Slides
Material [78 MB] Material [32 MB] Material [4 MB]

This was the demo session that looped for two weeks: demo session

And these are three of the main pannels he hanged on the exhibition rooms: expo1, expo2, expo4.

Now I expect the experience leads to other projects similar to this one, probably better organized, but definitively in the same direction.