3dluvr: Please introduce yourselves.
I'm Rich Thomson aka legalize / Polygony, President of
a Utah non-profit corporation dedicated to the demoscene and primary
organizer of the Pilgrimage demoparty.
Hi, I'm Christian Wirth aka RaD Man, the founder of the artgroup ACiD
Productions. I've since retired from running ACiD and am now the
Director of Competitions at Pilgrimage 2004 and host of talk radio news
show The ARTS.
3dluvr: For those readers that are not familiar, what is a Demo?
A demo is a "demonstration" of your skills, be they musical, graphical,
or programmatical. A typical demo is like a short film with an
associated musical score.
3dluvr: How long have you been in the Demo scene?
I've been actively participating in the underground art scene since the
late 1980s, following the IBM PC demo scene intensely since 1990.
I first heard about the demoscene from the panel discussion at SIGGRAPH
2002 in San Antonio, TX. I then went to the BOF (Birds of a
Feather) meeting for the demoscene later that day and met some of the
panel members and watched demos. After that I came home and
decided I wanted to organize a demoparty in Salt Lake. The result
was Pilgrimage 2003.
3dluvr: Tell me about the Pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage is the only demoparty in North America -- it takes place in
the heart of Salt Lake City, the birthplace of computer graphics.
This year we will have an event that is more than twice as successful
as last year's demoparty.
3dluvr: How many people do u expect to attend?
Legalize: I think that the exposure of Pilgrimage
2003 and the word of mouth recommending it will increase our attendance
dramatically in 2004. By exactly how many people is hard to say;
last year we had a peak of 75 people come through the event, but
there was no ticket fee. This year we have a ticket fee, but I
expect a more significant turnout from across the scene since we proved
last year that we could make a pure demoscene party happen (no gaming
component). We can accommodate a peak of 300 visitors this year
and are planning for a likely turnout of 150.
3dluvr: Tell me about the competitions, what will the prizes be like?
Legalize: I'll defer to the "Director" on that one!
RaD Man: At
this year, we have 9 official competitions, 6 of which fall under
the category of digital arts; First, we have the staple of our party,
the DEMO competition. We also host a combined music compo for
trackers and the like, a textmode compo for the oldschool ANSI and
ASCII artists, and a hirez graphics competition sponsored by
A unique aspect of our party versus others is that we feature a
fast-made "Blender Compo" which is a throwback to the
early competitions held on IRC during the 90s. Upon arrival at
the party, attendees are given a set of 3 randomly selected words
and challenged to create a piece of art which best exemplifies
those words within a very limited amount of time. This is the
only competition where individual artists, musicians and coders
can compete against each other directly.
Then we have the "Wildcard Compo" which is a liberal
competition allowing anything from a short film, interactive game,
or live performance.
Thanks to the partnerships we've built over the past year with
various vendors and service providers, we now have over $14,000 USD
in cash and prizes to award this year at Pilgrimage 2004. Prizes
include hardware, software and cold hard cash. One of our platinum
partners this year is deviantART who has contributed a substantial
amount of cash prizes as well as 1-year and 3-month subscriptions.
We've received hardware donations from Pacific Digital, Cobalt Flux,
Red Octane, and ATI. Media and software licenses have also been
donated from vendors such as ACiD Productions, Fusecon, Microsoft,
Renoise and Serious Magic.
3dluvr: You both are very active in the art
community. Computer artists aren't exceptionally well known for
being social. What inspired you to start social events such as
What has the overall consensus and feedback at such events been like?
Legalize: My inspiration has been three things:
Project DELTA, SIGGRAPH and the pictures I saw of Assembly at
Project DELTA was an education program at the University of
Delaware where the programmers were all in one large "bullpen"
style programming lab. There was a feeling of camaraderie there,
I liked that. Most people think of SIGGRAPH as the premiere
technical conference for computer graphics, but the great thing
about SIGGRAPH is the confluence of technologists and artists with
a common vocabulary. Some of the best art I've ever seen in my
life was on exhibit at SIGGRAPH in the art gallery exhibit. When
I saw the pictures of Assembly at SIGGRAPH 2002 I recognized the
elements of both SIGGRAPH and Project DELTA.
As for the reaction to Pilgrimage itself, its been very
positive! The prime example of that positive reaction is having
RaD Man on board the staff this year. He has made a significant
difference in helping me take Pilgrimage to the "next level".
And with that, over to him...
While I've attended other demoparties large and small in North
America; NAID '96 (Quebec, Canada) and Spring Break '98 and '99
(California, USA); it has always been my dream since Assembly
began to attend the single party that solidified the whole
concept. 12 years later (this month) that dream was finally
But, unfortunately, demoparties in North America are very far
and few between. Aside from the two years NAID was held, nothing
holds a candle to level at which the massive demoparties in
Europe have reached; both 'commercialized' and
'underground' included. Then I discovered Pilgrimage
2003. I was not only impressed with the high quality of the
entries submitted at the event, but was rather inspired by a
followup article written by Legalize on how to organize a
demoparty. I joined the Pilgrimage team in an effort to help
turn things around for the better in North America.
Demoparties are about more than just the competitions and
prizes. They are an opportunity of a lifetime to network with
likeminded individuals from around the world, a chance to meet
new friends and rub shoulders with the demoscene digerati. And
who knows, you may just make scene history...
3dluvr: You mention that Salt Lake City is the
birthplace of modern computer graphics, could you elaborate please?
Legalize: It grew out of the University of Utah
Computer Science Department in the 60s and 70s. If you look back to
the first important paper about computer graphics, its Ivan
Sutherland's "Sketchpad" paper. This was in 1963, I think,
at MIT. Ivan came to the University of Utah to start up a program in
computer graphics with David Evans, the department chair. Ivan had
gotten his PhD from MIT and joined Utah as one of the early faculty
Many of the effects you see in traditional demos; Gouraud shading,
Phong shading, "the teapot" all originate out of Salt Lake
City, or more accurately the Science Department of the University
of Utah. There wasn't much going on in graphics yet, so there was
plenty of "low hanging fruit" for the graduate students
like Jim Blinn, Henri Gouraud, Bui-Tuong Phong, etc., to get their
PhDs in all the important groundwork of computer graphics. Lots of
things that are commonplace today were invented in the 60s and 70s
3dluvr: Christian, tell us about your radio
RaD Man: I host a radio talk show called
The ARTS, shorthand for The Artscene Radio Talk Show. Simply put,
we are focused on the scene; our focus is our demographic. We
discuss topics of interest to artists, coders and musicans and
feature interviews with guests from all over the world. I love
producing each new episode; it is an exciting new medium for
sceners to communicate and get their message across. The ARTS
show archives, including MP3 redistributables, notes and
transcripts are available at
3dluvr: Christian, you've been around for a
while, how has the underground art scene changed over the past 14
RaD Man: To quote Adok/Hugi, "Until the
mid-nineties Demos were indeed focused on technology. What
counted was whether your 3d engine worked faster than other
peoples, and whether you brought new effects at a decent frame
rate, rather than how they looked or what message they carried."
The computer underground art scene has really moved more
towards artistic expression than a demonstration of optimization
3dluvr: In conclusion, is there anything that
you would like to say to the reader?
Legalize: Come out to
RaD Man: Indeed.
Make the Pilgrimage!
September 17-18, 2004
Salt Lake City Downtown
Brighton & Solitude Meeting Rooms
$20 on or before August 14th, 2004
$30 after August 14th, 2004
Visit The Pilgrimage Website for more details.