I was going on a trip today and I was loading some videos on my iPhone of DEFCON 15. DEFCON is a conference in Las Vegas for security professionals with many ludicrously technical yet casual talks. I found that the Defcon Archive website didn’t offer the videos of this year’s conference up for download, but an excellent blog did; Roysac’s blog also had a small side note of a video dating back a few years, but certainly worth sharing.
This video (over an hour) goes into detail about text art. You have probably seen ANSI or ASCII artworks before in your life, but this is the most complete video I have ever seen about its development and background. Going back a thousand years before the dawn of computing, the speaker demonstrates how humans have been making text art over the ages and how it reached a spectacular peak in the age of BBS’es, before the dawn of the World Wide Web. “Underground” art groups were competing on bulletin boards for pure honour, making textual artwork (sometimes even animations) with painstakingly mundane ‘manual labor’. If you decide to see just one bit, check the last third of the movie for some pretty insane ‘textmode’ 3d animations.
The Roysac blog features a lot of information about the BBS scene, and specifically the art culture around it. Worthwhile addition to the artistically inclined geek’s RSS feeds.