The Reeler Reviews 8-Bit

In The Reeler this week Paddy Johnson reviews the movie 8 BIT, opening Saturday at the Museum of Modern Art. I'm in the film yakking a lot so this will be 8-Bit Week here at the blog. I'll post some back-and-forth email Johnson and I had re: the review (with her kind permission), and will give my own biased perspective on the film. Johnson notes that it's "the first movie of its kind to document and situate the 8-bit scene within contemporary art discourse," and quotes me as saying "the DIY (do it yourself), hacker, guerrilla mindset is a constant theme... One thing I like about the film is it casts its net wider than just a small scene." Meaning it encompasses a variety of lo-fi strategies for using the computer as an art making tool.

But what exactly does "8-bit" mean? In computing it can connote "small," "low res," or "old"--the second meaning interests me the most. Wikipedia says: "In computer architecture, 8-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are at most 8 bits (1 octet) wide. [...] The Z80 and the MOS Technology 6502 8-bit CPUs were widely used in home computers and game consoles of the 1970s and '80s. Many 8-bit CPUs or microcontrollers are the basis of today's ubiquitous embedded systems.

"There are 28 (256) possible permutations for 8 bits.

"About 55% of all CPUs sold in the world are 8-bit microcontrollers or microprocessors."

It's about doing a lot with a little to reach the most, as I see it.

MOMA 8 BIT page

8 BIT website

image above is a detail from the poster by eBoy.