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[PIXELS 2001] Low-End Theory: Demos, Machinima and HyperCard

Independent film has proved that no-budget cinema can still effectively communicate ideas. In this spirit, experimental filmmakers have been exploiting the power--however meager--of personal computers since the dawn of the computer age. Toy Story 3 this ain't. Instead, the computer itself becomes both the studio the playback device. The delivery medium is floppy disk, CD-ROM, or Internet download. No celluloid required.

As with mainstream animated features, homebrew CGI cinema tends toward the fantastic. The three categories below each show this bias to a certain extent, whether it's the videogame-mediated shorts of the "machinima" movement, the science fiction imagery of the international demo scene or the personal, low-key fantasies to be found in Thoru Yamamoto's HyperCard worlds. When you can build anything, why build the mundane?