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Glitch art builds on the aesthetic and experience of computer malfunction. Glitch art is
a lot about getting beyond this notion that these faults are actually faults.
You know, it's trying to find the soul in the machine.
A lot of these images are really compelling and very interesting.
Something's exposed that maybe you weren't quite prepared for it to be exposed.
Glitch art is manipulating electronics and how they can be gateways
into understanding the cultural values that are associated with our technology.
Although they may be intimidating electronic technologies are actually
open mediums for expression and creativity.
When technologies are new
we're filled with all these promises. Manufacturers tell us
that these new tools are
supposed to become a seamless way for us to express ourselves.
And then we run into unwelcomed behavior,
which artists manipulate those tools on another level to
expand our vocabulary for communicating with each other.
In the way that punk music was a reaction against this hyper polished
commercial rock and roll of the time
glitch art is also a reaction against the hyper realism that is portrayed in
These super high-definition images
saturated beyond real resemblance to actual color.
Glitch art is really providing people with material to create their own voice.
It's this notion that we don't have to accept what's been handed to us.
Glitch art is a way of
taking these fractures in existing systems and
examine them in a way that tries to make sense of them and whether it's through a still image or moving
video or a sound file. There's a bunch of different ways of creating glitches. There's
true glitches which are things that make themselves manifest inside of
systems without your intervention. Like upload an image to flickr or
something and somewhere along the way some of the data gets corrupted and you wind up with
this weird picture that looks like an image and then all of a sudden you get these like
bizarre colors. That's sort of like a happy accident.
Or you can replicate it through other processes. So what you do is you take like a
mp3 file and instead of dot mp3 you rename that file to dot r-a-w. You open
up that image in photoshop. It opens it up as if it were
a raw file, which is an image format, and it reads through it bit by bit and each bit
inside of there then becomes a visual representation of what's inside that
sound file but inside this black-and-white image. Another way is to
take an image and open it up with the text editor and then you go in and you delete stuff,
add stuff in. You're gonna get something totally weird.
In glitch art, more so than a lot of other artforms, I am a really big proponent of
the idea that the process is more important.
Part of the process is empowering people to understand the tools and understand
the underlying structures in what is going on inside of a computer. So as soon as
you understand the system enough to know why you're breaking it then you have a
better understanding of what the tool is built for.
I stumbled onto
this world of live video performance and live video software and glitches in an aesthetic
choice for me to explore. That was a revelation because it made video
malleable. It made it like clay where you can mold it and bend it and change it in real time. And do
edits in real time. Do some limited effects in real time and then express
yourself live. I think a lot of what glitch art is is finding out all of
the strange nooks and crannies and exposing them and bringing them out to the
forefront and showing that they can be quite interesting and do interesting things.
I actually write a lot of my own software to do these sorts of effects. So some
software when i run it, I don't know what I'm going to get
and so part of it is an iterative process of maybe you've gone too far you've broken the
file and it's unreadable. Maybe you dial it back a little bit.
Some of it is faking glitch and making things look glitchy when maybe they really weren't
or finding ways to actually make it glitch out in interesting ways. I want to be
improvisationally react to what's going on in the environment. And so if i know
that there's something that I want, there's like a feeling or emotion with a certain
visual, I try to reverse engineering and in that reverse engineering process I'm
trying to find something that's beautiful in these moments. And that's
fleeting. I quite like that. I think a lot of the glitch art will
work in that sort of sensibility of fleetingness and in the moment and it is a
very live sort of a thing.
Every time you walk through Times Square
one of the billboards is glitching out. And you don't even necessarily notice it at first but if you're
looking for it, they're there. At first they're upsetting but, personally, I find them beautiful.
I don't think any glitch artist is going to say that they have
a lot of anxiety about technology. Glitch artists mostly love technology.
There's a project by Jeff Donaldson and Antonio Roberts called Glitch Safari which is just a
collection of glitches found in the wild. It's this way of collecting these found glitches and documenting them.
When you start to see the things that you discover through it that are interesting
about the images
it becomes less traumatic.
And then when you go back and see the glitches it does
tend to relieve that anxiety that people have
when they see these things break down.
Now it has been incorporated into like
advertising and all sorts of commercial work.
There's the Kanye West video and
glitch artists have
been able to present glitch work in all kinds of institutions.
So it's a good place to be to find pleasure in these things that are normally
Being able to control what you're doing but not completely, that's the kind of thing I'm interested in.
The way that we misunderstand each other and the way that we misunderstand the world.
All of a sudden we can misuse things and start experimenting and seeing where it leads you.
For me it's about the aesthetic, about the moment, about being able to have
something that's happenning with a
certain sense of live-ness.
One of the reasons that this has become more
prevalent as an art form
is because people are starting to see more frequently
these sorts of exposures.
Glitch is always going to change as our relationship to technology changes.
Glitch art is wild. It's a frontier. It's sort of like this really quick and easy way that you see the world.