[-empyre-] glitch device

Caleb Kelly caleb.kelly at sydney.edu.au
Tue Dec 6 10:23:48 EST 2011

hi all

I'm going to chime in here in response to Julian's post.

There are few things that need a little more teasing out. Specifically the idea that 'glitch is not an aesthetic artifact' is either totally obvious or actually needs a re-think. 

If glitch is simply a medium then it is correct, just as saying paint is not an aesthetic artefact. Paint only becomes aesthetic when it is used in certain ways, while sitting in the tin it usually is just paint. The interest in glitch is then as a medium and the quality of the output/work comes from how it is used. We would not say it is strange that people try to emulate paint and continue to do so (maybe some of us would but that's a diff argument).

The aesthetics argument is interesting in the light of aesthetics recent re-emergence as an area of interest in art. This line of thinking goes to the heart of a number of issues, not least the possible importance of an aesthetics of error. We have heard the story before but to invoke Ranciere here, we have a very specific partitioning of the sensible, one that seeks to hide or cover anything that breaks the illusion of a system running seamlessly. Here the artist takes the glitch and repartitions it to form an aesthetic. The undesired becomes the focus and this is where the politics of the glitch has the most potential. The 'rupture in the logic system' is exactly the aesthetic I am looking for in these practices.

I wider question is whether this is possible through emulation or whether we need an authentic/real glitch to be true to the aesthetic (problematic to say the least). For me there is a loss of the politics of noise in emulation. This is a far wider issue.


> 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
> http://julianoliver.com
> http://criticalengineering.org
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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