Politics in Demos by Adok/Hugi
"Politics is the process by which groups make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within governments, politics is observed in all human (and many non-human) group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions." (Wikipedia)
Politics is a topic everybody is interested in to some extent since it concerns the life of each individual in society. Young people often begin to get interested in politics when they listen to their parents talking about it. Usually political socialization happens in three steps: First, the young people accept the opinion of the elder; second, they start to think about and question them; third, they strive for establishing their own set of beliefs. In any case, politics is a subject that leaves nobody cold. Therefore it isn't much of a surprise that there are even some politics-related demos, which are either conveying a political message or are even based on a political theme. In the following article, I want to review some of these demos.
"State of mind" by Bomb!, 1998
This demo by the French demo group Bomb! is based on the song "State of mind" by the hip-hop band Senser. The song is critical of the consumer lifestyle ("work, buy, consume, die") and talks about "crypto-fascism". The videos displayed at the beginning of the demo appear to be historical pieces from probably fascist or socialist countries showing masses of people walking like sheep-flocks. Watching the demo nowadays it's hard to believe that this was considered one of the best demos back in the days: the effects are hardly exciting and the colour set is rather cold; moreover, the resolution is uncommonly low for today's standards.
"Herbst 77" by Kolor, 1999
Back in 1999, the German demo group Kolor released a demo about the "fall of terror" of the year 1977. Quote from the info file: "This demo is about history in fall 1977. In Germany the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF), who described themselves as a socialist urban guerrilla, shattered the whole country by bombing and killing. Their first generation-heads were already imprisoned in the high-security prison in 'Stammheim'. In fall 77 president of the employers association Hanns-Martin Schleyer was captured by them to make the German government release their intellectual heads. Though Helmut Schmidt, former Bundeskanzler, never planned to give in, the whole situation became even more critical when sympathisants of the RAF captured a Lufthansa-plane ('Landshut') to strengthen their demands. Luckily the plane was freed without any loss of life by a German special-force in Mogadishu. Hearing this news and seeing that the government does not give in, the kidnappers killed Schleyer. In Stammheim Enslin, Baader and Raspe killed themselves. Just some years ago the rest of the RAF declared their street fight to be over, with most of their members being imprisoned or dead."
The demo is based on the lyrics of a song by a singer named Degenhardt. These lyrics are displayed as texts during the course of the demo; they are not sung. The lyrics are presented in their German originals. A rough English translation done by Shiva of Kolor is included in the info file. Quote: "We do not sing for you: you, who are full of emotional mud; you, who do not hate anything as much as your own fat bodies; and not for you: you, with your architects ideology; you, francophile cheese lickers. We do not sing for you: you, who only live because there is too little bread elsewhere; temple stair sitters; you, who do not love anything as much as your own painted bellies of dumb dope smiling, muttering your lawless laws; no, not for you. I sing for you: you, who disregard the cowardly hero's wisdom of the unchangeable way of the world and just try out what is right; you, who burn the color, the architects painted over with, away from decaying buildings; for you: you, who do not want to sit on temple stairs, as long as batons regulate the white freedom, and napalm is still food for poor. I sing for you."
In the background images related to the theme and some short animations (.avi files) are displayed. The demo is based on DirectX, but there is a switch in the config window which also makes it work using GDI. The resolution is very low (320x200), which feels unfamiliar for today's PC users (while Amigans and other oldskoolers are of course still accustomed to it). The total duration is 3 minutes 44 seconds. On my Windows XP, the demo first seemed to work only without music; but when I disabled "Force realtime priority" in the config window, the music was played back correctly.
This was the winner demo of Evoke 1999. Credits: Design, Graphics - Noize, Music - Raytrayza, Code - Shiva, Siriuz.
"Le Petit Prince" by Kolor, 2001
This beautiful and rather long (4 min 52 sec) demo by Shiva, Raytrayza and Noize is based on a famous children's book written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It shows the everyday life of the little prince on his little planet before he makes his journey to other planets. Although the demo is not political as such, there appears a political message during one of the scenes: "Atomkraft? Nein, danke!" (which could be translated to: "Say no to nuclear plants!") This was the official slogan of a campaign in Germany back in the year when this demo was released. In any case, it's a demo everybody should have seen as it is probably one of the most beautiful demos ever made.
"Ultimatum to Poland" by MFX, 2003
"Ultimatum to Poland: Last Days Before The War" is a demo by MFX made for Buenzli 12. It's a greyscale demo involving (distorted) images of tanks, a hardly legible letter which is related to Jewish migration policy and a lot of noise. In general, it's a demo difficult or even impossible to enjoy, and its intention is probably to make you think of World War II. As the soundtrack was also released independently of the demo in the album "Black Hole Ego" by dK (a music group composed of the two sceners Dixan and K), it seems like this demo was coded rather quickly as a kind of music video to this track. Credits: Code - Droid, Uncle-X, 3D - Droid, Music - Dixan, K, Design - Uncle-X.
"Bush" by Jumalauta, 2004
This short demo displays an image of G.W. Bush, several American flags and a couple of standard effects that can be seen in many demos. The following texts appear: "Long Live (the) Empire" (of course they're referring to a hypothetic "American Empire") and "Go Bush go". It may be either an ironical statement about the American foreign policy resembling the one of historical empires, or it may be a demonstration of support for Bush - but as Jumalauta is known for being ironic, I guess the first possibility is more probable. All in all, it's nothing spectacular, and the 6 MB of download / space could be better invested in something else.
"Jewish Conspiracy" by Jumalauta, 2006
The demo with the provocative name happens to be a short (less than 2.5 minutes) and visually unappealing grayscale image- and effect-show with an okay, but not oustanding soundtrack, playing with some of the clichés that are widespread among anti-Jewish circles. We get to see several historical pictures of Jewish persons (each picture being displayed for just a moment, then the next one comes), David stars moving in various ways, noise and a lot of text in permanently changing fonts. The text reads as follows: "Jumalauta / Jewish Conspiracy / Media is Evil / They control the media - They control the Internet - They control your children - They control everything you see - They control everything you hear / They control the Freemasons - They control the Illuminati / Shalom / Jewlers control your mother - Metric system & One world government - Äkknäkk + Anmvlks? - Jumalauta 2006" All in all this Finnish production is nothing special and not worth the download (6 MB! With fewer images, this could have probably been realized in far less than 64k).
What's the historical background of this demo? Jewish conspiracy theories became popular in the end of the 19th century. One of the most popular books on that topic was called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in which the Jews were accused of forming a conspiracy to take over the world. Among other things, it claimed that Jewish businessmen invested money in the construction of the London and Paris metro only in order to be able to bomb these cities easily one day. The authors of this book are unknown; historians believe there have been several of them, and that they may be related to the Tsarist Russian secret service "Ochrana". The book was very popular in Russia, but also in Western Europe. Adolf Hitler believed in the contents of this book and incorporated it in his ideology. The Nazis used it to justify their radical anti-Jewish policy which resulted in the "Endlösung", also known as shoa or holocaust.
"Farewell" by Rebels, 2006
The winner demo of Function 2006 is also inherently political and suits the name of the group that created it. It starts with the Rebels logo fading in front of a skyline. Then comes a 3D clock, followed by the title of the demo. We get to see the interiors of a sterile office building. At the same time music begins to play. It features vocals sung by a female voice (a certain "Ellie" according to the credits) which are accompanied by subtitles (lyrics) displayed on the screen; the vocals and the subtitles fit perfectly. This makes the demo resemble a music video. The atmosphere is very good in general; the scene with the chair was one of my favourites.
The theme of the demo is rebellion against everyday life. The woman singer seems to be a secretary, and she wonders how her employer would react if all of a sudden she ceased to go to work one day. Her employer is called a "cheater", which means she doesn't really have a good opinion about him.
At the end, the greetings are displayed revolving around three beautiful flowers. At the same time the credits are shown. A pixeled image with a woman and the text "Be my rebel" appears. Then the demo returns to DOS.
All in all, great work; this demo has been a worthy party winner. Credits: Code - Pasy, 3D - Csirke, GFX - Alien, Critikill, Music - Vincenzo, Ellie, Thomas, Lyrics - Pohar.
"Long die emperor" by Jumalauta, 2006
This is a short demo released on the day of the execution of Saddam Hussein. It shows Saddam hanging on a rope in a desert. In the background, music from Richard Wagner's opera "Ring der Nibelungen" is played ("Ritt der Walküre").
"Kandahar" by Pengo & Amnesty, 2006
A Taliban-themed demo showing pictures of Muslim warriors (probably modified photos), 3D scenes, tunnels and a lot of Islamic symbols. Our friends from The Afghanistan Posse would love it! It also contains some Polish texts, which shows where the demo really comes from. The music is good, and all in all it's a fine demo.
"Kandahar" was made for TUM 2006, where it wasn't shown although the organizers had initially accepted it. It seems like they had doubts concerning the political message of the demo.
Politics is a topic covered by a few demos and their number is growing. Not many demos have had messages in the past, but that's changing, and of course demos are a medium that allows the transporting of political messages.