Art-of-Coding, an initiative to enlist the demoscene as first digital culture on the list of UNESCO intangible world cultural heritage

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Not sure what is the demoscene?

The demoscene is an international computer art subculture focused on producing demos: self-contained, sometimes extremely small, computer programs that produce audio-visual presentations. The purpose of a demo is to show off programming, visual art, and musical skills. Demos and other demoscene productions are shared at festivals known as demoparties, voted on by those who attend, and released online.

The demoscene’s roots are in the home computer revolution of the late 1970s, and the subsequent advent of software cracking. Crackers altered the code of video games to remove copy protection, claiming credit by adding introduction screens of their own (“cracktros“). They soon started competing for the best visual presentation of these additions.[1] Through the making of intros and stand-alone demos, a new community eventually evolved, independent of the gaming[2]:29–30 and software sharing scenes. (8.2.2019)

Despite the title Art of CODING it´s also important to be aware, that the demoscene is not only creating an humongous output of demos, but is also producing heaps of music, graphics, fotos, text-art (ANSI/ASCII-Art), videos, interactive-installations and many more kinds of cultural artefacts on all kinds of hardware-platforms for many decades.

What is the broader context of the mission?


The Demoscene, which is born at the heart of the home computer revolution, shows how skills and creativity can be stimulated and implemented in a dynamic cultural practice adopted to digital contexts. Many of its techniques and mindsets became core techniques and influences of the digital change and are still vibrant today. Seven decades after the invention of computers, we think it’s time to push for the next step to take born-digital culture seriously as part of our cultural heritage, starting an initiative to bring the demoscene onto the list UNESCO intangible world cultural heritage. So we invite all sceners and non-sceners to join us and support the initiative in the upcoming years.”

Andreas Lange & Tobias Kopka, April 2019

Initiators of the campaign “Art of Coding”

The initiative will take some time, so naturally this page is work in progress and evolves over time

Please note: This page serves as a basic information page and works in the progress repository. The initiative will take years (check the NEWS section for on RECENT UPDATES), and hence everything on this website is to be understood as a work in progress.
Like everything in the demoscene, it is a non-commercial and voluntary project, pushed forward as work and time permits.

In April 2020, Art of Coding achieved a breakthrough in Finland, which recognized the Demoscene as part of the Finnish UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Shortly after this, Germany’s nomination confirmed this major milestone, and thus Art of Coding became a serious international campaign. As of May 2024, Finland, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the Netherlands recognized the demoscene as national cultural heritage, and applications in France, Denmark, and more countries are in preparation. But even things are looking great, it is an open process for the upcoming years.

If you are an (ex-)demoscener or from other interested parties open to help in any way, please get in touch personally, as our next steps after the achievements in Finland, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the Netherlands are to continue gathering a strong international group of people interested in pushing forward the initiative and in bringing up further applications in other countries. As this is not about us (and the longer it takes time, the less it should be), this is about the demoscene – and in a broader sense – the status of digital culture in general.