[-empyre-] glitch device

Curt Cloninger curt at lab404.com
Tue Dec 6 04:39:55 EST 2011

Hi Julian,

Less interesting to me than the glitch-alike vs. pure/wild glitch 
dichotomy, is all the qualitative, affective gradiations amongst 
types of glitch events, glitch artifacts, and lived human responses 
to "the unexpected" (whether intentionally orchestrated by an artist 
or accidentally happened upon). There are a billion different ways 
for something to "not work as expected." From a commercial 
programmer's pragmatic perspective, these differences are only 
relevant in terms of troubleshooting and problem solving. They are 
less interesting in and of themselves (aesthetically? 
fetishistically?) and more interesting in terms of how one might 
erradicate them.

To become interested in glitch events (and artifacts) in and of 
themselves is admittedly aesthetic and fetishistic (the pretty 
blinking lights), but also at least philosophical and semiotic, if 
one's philosophy and semiotics allows for the importance of affective 
ways of knowing (D+G, Whitehead, Bergson, Bakhtin). To dismiss glitch 
aesthetics as so much ear/eye candy is to relegate all the immanent, 
variable, affective modulations that such visual/audible textures 
invoke on human wetware to the trash bin. A lot gets lost in this 
move. So the more interesting criterion to me is not, "is it expected 
or unexpected?" (as if it could only be all one or all the other). 
The more interesting question might be, "What is it doing to me?"

Having said that, I agree that (often) a glitch-alike plug-in isn't 
doing all that much to me, particularly if it is applied generically 
(rather than variegatedly or to some conceptual effect), particularly 
once its prefab effect has been culturally assimilated.


>..on Sun, Dec 04, 2011 at 11:29:52PM +0000, James Morris wrote:
>>  i used to waver between art and programming but recently have been
>>  programming much more than making art.
>>  so as a programmer, a glitch is a bad thing, something to remove, we
>>  seek defined behaviour within expected parameters etc.
>>  the likenesses of the glitch in art aren't really glitches but
>>  defined behaviour within expected parameters. artistic devices for the
>>  telling of the story; the finger print database searching software in
>>  CSI where rather than being presented with a progress meter we see each
>>  finger print the software is attempting to match against flash before
>>  our eyes...
>Very well put! I find it incredible that the emulation/fetishism of glitch is
>still rampant in electronic music and electronic art; glitch-making plugins in
>music sequencers, glitchy flash movies, glitch-alike PD and Max MSP
>performances. It really is a great example of Baudrillard's 'Becoming Null' in
>the software arts.
>A glitch is not an aesthetic artifact (let alone distinctly visual or audible
>phenomena) but an unanticipated rupture within a logical structure; they are
>valuable because they express volatility within the inner workings 
>of the system
>in use.
>Perhaps we should talk about 'glitch' (in the original sense) and 'gl1tch', in
>its prepared, self-conscious sense.
>Julian Oliver
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

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