Hacker Art

You might be asking yourself (or the screen for some of us), What is hacker art? Well to define hacker art is to define a corner stone in the hacker philosophy and a prime law in our Creed. The computer can create things of beauty, art, and that art will be beautiful. So, what does this mean? it means that creating art from a computer is apart of hacker culture for generations. In the early days it was ASCII art, simple games, and graphical demo applications. Then along came the Amiga and that art included music in the form of protracker files. Now a days these have been pushed aside for in favor of MP3, Flash games, and YouTube. Well now, I tell you this… video blogs, MySpace Profile fillers and emo songs are not art they’re just net pollution. So then what is there left for hackers to create their art with? Good thing you ask, as there are many forms in this day and age. The are broken down as such:

  • Demoscene
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • computer rendered imagery

The differences being that Hardware hacker art tends to be more of circuit bending, LED sculptures and case mods. Software is typically a piece of code that is so neat and clean that you want to bow down and chant, “I am not worthy” , over and over again. This type is almost always either single line shell scripting or assembly code. Now for the other two, Demoscene and computer rendered imagery. These are the most common to find out side of hacker circles and are the most beautiful in my option as they in them selves are art forms of thier own.

So then how does one get into this aspect of hacker art? Simple, by using open source software we have many options for computer rendered imagery, with the GIMP for post processing, image manipulation, and 2D graphics, and Blender for 3D model rendering. Both of which have a strong community of hackers and designers behind them that are willing to help out, both of which use the same concepts and techniques that more famous and over priced software packages use.

But, you say you want to get into music end of things… No problem there, we have Audacity that can take your audio recordings and turn them into mp3’s(with the help of LAME) and even let you record your own sound clips. So, what to do with sound clips? simple use them in a Protracker program and create your own Techno music to hack and crack by.

Now, what to do with all this and your hacking skills? That’s the best part, this where the Scene and demo art comes in. Take a look at some of the winners from this year’s Demo scene conventions.


Amazing no? I quite think so. Now, for all of you out there. I challenge you to create the best demo art available and to send me the link so I can see it and link back to your work. A great place to get started is to take a look at some of the stuff on Scene.org. Think of this site as an archive, social network and authority on the demo scene. Next, after you’ve got some coding ideas go check out The Mod Archive and get the right song for this hack(don’t forget to inform the artist through the site if you do use his work).



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