[-empyre-] glitch device

Nick Briz nickbriz at gmail.com
Fri Dec 9 07:27:21 EST 2011

I hope this list clicks on links...

Marc, you bring up a lot of good points in that
getting organized openly is ambitious and/or rewarding and/or exciting
and/or problematic and/or dangerous. This is something that we (the
organizers of GLI.TC/H) are/have been dealing with + have had many
internal/external conversations about. I gave the essay a quick pass, but
will post my thoughts/questions after a more thorough read.

John et al,

> This is not to derail the discussion, but to encourage advocates to think
> more clearly on what a glitch is supposed to be. A bug? The effect of
> triggering a bug? Is exploiting a software flaw 'glitch' even if it doesn't
> create cybersnazzy visuals or auditory effects? What if that software flaw
> is a misconfiguration and not a coding or design error? Is a glitch still a
> glitch if no one knows it happened? Are the mundane error messages in my
> /var/log 'glitch'?
> The truth is, the glitch art I have seen is so occluded and hermetic that
> its impossible to generate a proper understanding of what glitch
> practitioners consider to be glitch. Perhaps a form of getting political
> would be to open glitch workflows and practice, explain the browser panics,
> and do something beyond fetishizing the glitch (like, perhaps, explaining
> it?).

I myself have only really spent the last 5/6 years engaging with these
(glitch) ideas directly (which I realize is far less than many of you,
who've been on, "since monitors blinked green phosphor cursors"), I'm also
new to -empyre- and am only starting to get a sense for the kind of
conversation that it facilitates. The questions John Haltiwanger proposed
is a compressed.zip of a disappointing direction this thread seems to be
heading in. For all the theorizing + defining + [de]codifying I've done, my
theories have been colored significantly (sometimes in unexpected ways) by
the activity of these [glitch art] communities. Like Curt said, "It would
help me to better understand what [many] are claiming if you would list
some of these [-insert claim here-] glitches specifically."  Marc, there
were a couple of incidents/situations the last few years that lead me to
feel like glitch's, "most attractrive quality [was] sacrifice[d]" and that
in fact, some very important doors where closed. However, the
works/discussions/activities that followed proved me wrong, old doors
weren't exactly closed, nor were new doors exactly
opened<http://www.biglongnow.com/> (this
is where binaries become problematic), rather doors became windows and new
portals/wormholes spawned (as an example, the response to the Kanye West's
music video and the "rise" of data-moshing).

Regardless of whether we really understand what a glitch *is*, it's safe to
say we have at least an *awareness* of its occurrence--we know such a thing
exists. Proof is found in how, as Rosa explains in her book
it functions as a catalyst for artists/theorists/enthusiasts [this is the
moment(um)] this catalyst becomes an array of impetuses, as I mentioned
before. I should clarify, not every item in the array cares to "change
culture" though some do. Proof again of such a moment(um) can be seen in
the terabytes of activity found throughout these glitch art communities.

As to the layers of potential (political/social/cultural/philosophical)
that glitch brings, I agree with Julian that a "Purely aesthetic
fetishising of glitch depreciates this potential." However, by no means
does the Max MSP mimicry out weigh (or even out number) the (again
terabytes) of engaging work that's been rendered in the fray the last
couple years:


*[ Domesticated Glitch: as a search for meaning ]*

You've got a fair amount of artists who provoke/instigate glitches (as
opposed to mimic) in the interest of presenting/exploring ideas, themes,
concepts [this is one approach i.e. a few items from the array]. These
artists often "tame" (as Marc put it) or "domesticate" (as Rosa explains
it) these glitches to form a kind of palette/inventory they use to make
their work + present their arguments. (as a side note: see Vernacular of
File Formats<http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9054743/lofi%20Rosa%20Menkman%20-%20A%20Vernacular%20of%20File%20Formats.pdf>
 and Ceibas: For Mobile Video
One example of this approach can be seen in the works of Evan Meaney. One
of my favorite glitch pieces is Shannon's
an ode to the godfather of compression Claude E. Shannon as well as a
poetic/ghostly reminder of the assumptions we make about human + computer
memory and [im]mortality (here's a video
did with Evan for the Art21 blog).  Another artist with a similar approach,
though for drastically different ends, is Jimmy Joe
who incorporates his glitch/palette in the interest of
presenting/exploring/creating a digital-www-psychedelic narrative from a
parallel dimension (here's a
review<http://fnewsmagazine.com/2011/02/review-roundup/> I
wrote for one of Jimmy's solo shows for Fnewsmagazine ).

*[ Unstable Files: as a political tactic ]*

Evan and Jimmy's works are stable videos, they're "tame" and "domesticated"
(rather than wild and unpredictable), but this domestication is necessary
for them to achieve their (very different) intentions. Other times artists
have instigated glitches and have skipped the "domestication" process and
presented (in various ways/forms) corrupted/unpredictable files to an
audience/user. There are also different impetuses behind this approach
(another few items from the array). Personally, I've done this to help
identify/address the ways different technologies effect/color the
content/media we receive through them and how this influence of the system
on the information we receive often goes unnoticed (the system, of course,
makes great efforts to remain invisible). One piece, an-uh-mit
data<http://www.nickbriz.com/anuhmitdata.htm> (2008)
is a collection of single frame (corrupted) loops, each browser interprets
(and essentially remixes) these frames differently. In another piece, Black
Compressed <http://www.nickbriz.com/blackcompressed.html> (2009), I upload
the same 4min and 33second black silent video to various media hosting
sites, none of the videos looks the same (nor do they look pitch black).

"Take the simplest intentional glitch gesture, data-bending an image.
Anyone on the glitch art flickr group will tell you that the content of an
image has less effect on the way your image will glitch than the particular
file format, the medium. A portrait, a landscape and a cat will all giltch
the same way, a jpg, a gif and a png will not. Even in this simplest glitch
gesture (a data-bend) we’re forced to address an image as a medium, a file,
a container for ones and zeroes and not mearly as a portrait, a landscape
or a cat. Regardless of whether you prefer databending on textEdit or in
Hex Editor you’ll always have to right click that image file and choose
“Open With”, because if you double click that file your operating system
makes an assumption about what or how you want to see. Additionally, if you
bend the image too much, your glitch file is replaced with an “error”
message … another assumption. Glitches (and glitch art as a product/genre)
that once existed may not, if the technology[ists] decides/assumes that you
don’t want to see."

--from my lecture (the medium is the [error] message) at the "Politix in/of
Glitch" panel at this year's GLI.TC/H

*[ Fetishized Glitch or Glitch Inspired ]*

It's been called a "filter" or a "glitch-a-like", but I think rather than
understanding the Max/MSP approach as invaluable fetishized mimicry, I
think it's more useful to say that some work is "glitch inspired." This
opens up the conversation a bit more. Yes, a lot of this work isn't
particularly interesting to me, and sometimes even upsetting. But most of
these artists do not intend to "depreciate this [glitch's] potential", as
Julian put it, but rather are simply inspired by it, and often times this
inspiration doesn't come in the form of an aesthetic injection but rather a
conceptual one. This was the case with one particular submission we
received but weren't able to include in GLI.TC/H this year (which
jon.satrom recently brought to my attention again) called Border
"Participants collected entries from a database used to police the
[US/Mexico] border. As a result, the border was conceptually and
symbolically haunted for the duration of the one-day action as the border
policing structure received over 1,000 reports of deceased migrants
attempting [to] cross the border." Though, this is more glitch inspired
than it is directly glitch art, many clear connections/comparisons can be
made to other works like that of Evan Meaney's mentioned above.

*[Misc Items]*

There are so many more approaches and items in this array, but I fear
making this email longer than anyone will care to read, but just to rattle
out a few (to give more perspective to the terabytes I'm referring to),
there's a wealth of real-time works/groups, like Vaudeo Signal
and Cracked Ray Tube <http://crackedraytube.com/>, which are great examples
of framing/collaborating with unstable media, not so much domesticating it
but rather caging it for a moment (riding the wild stallion) in a
performative setting. Also, there's an approach/thread I'm particularly
excited about that positions glitch as a playful rupture on our normative
uses of technology (namely Glti.ch Kareoke <http://glti.ch/> and
jon.satrom's prepared desktop series <http://vimeo.com/15821484> which was
mentioned earlier). Lastly, to throw one more wrench in this
"is-glitch-a-glitch-if-we-call-it-a-glitch" position, JODI<http://jodi.org/>.
I think all I have to say is JODI, but in case that needs clarification, I
expressed some of these thoughts during an interview with Chicago Art
their failed/succesful attempt to interview JODI over email.

On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 5:46 AM, marc garrett
<marc.garrett at furtherfield.org>wrote:

> Hi Nick & all,
> This is a very interesting discussion...
> I just wanted to jump in here and explore it from a different angle.
> Relating to your comments saying below....
> >I don't think this motivation (and goal) is "elitist", in fact it's
> >intentionally (and carefully) open and inclusive. Within the context
> >of GLI.TC/H, "glitch art" often refers to a community made up of many
> >communities, the art worlds mentioned being one of them, but also
> >academia (similar but different from these art worlds), also "creatives"
> >(in the commercial/design sense), also non-art world (fringe) computer
> >art scenes, also non-professional (amateur/folk) "participatory"
> >communities (which often convene on social-media: facebook, vimeo,
> >flickr) ---- and I don't mean to create distinct categories here,
> >rather propose overlapping/fluid groups.
> A little while back when we were involved with a project called
> Node.London in 2006 (the 1st one) (http://www.nodelondon.org/), for
> Networked, Open, Distributed, Events in London, a Season of Media Arts; we
> experienced an important lesson with many others - the difficulties between
> engineers, artists and activists. The activities of NODE.London aimed to
> develop an infrastructure and to take a decentralised approach to curating
> a media arts festival according to the ethos and methods of open cultural
> production, on the understanding that these had always been a source of
> inspiration to media arts practitioners. I can see similar fragments emerge
> on this list as the discussion develops. "The cultures are in many ways
> antagonistic to each other, easily drawn apart and scattered by diverse
> forces. Engineers, artists and activists operate in different models of the
> world, take different approaches to life and have different modes of
> survival available to them. These differences impact their free time,
> values and priorities, which in turn give rise to some tensions in how they
> view each other." http://www.furtherfield.org/**
> reviews/nodelondon-getting-**organised-openly<http://www.furtherfield.org/reviews/nodelondon-getting-organised-openly>
> But, this is not to say it's a negative thing, because I feel that
> interesting works or situations, arrive out of people exploring their
> differences, in whatever context. Yet, at the same time, whether something
> is political, artistic or engineered in a certain way - is important (as
> well as other perspectives) to if we are going through the process of
> discussion, such enquiries can help define or redefine the thing(s) we
> observe and discuss at various levels - function, meaning, subtext,
> context, it all opens up the inner workings beyond a prescribed 'interface'
> and the various designated protocols.
> One thing I notice with the gl1tch phenomena- is that it seems to share
> properties of, or is dynamically close to an artifact; a mass-produced,
> usually inexpensive (digital) object reflecting contemporary society or
> popular culture. What I mean here, is that its behaviour and function works
> within frameworks of social platforms already existing, appropriating
> popular avenues of networked, creative and cultural distrubtion. It exists
> between geek world and the everyday world. What it reflects of the
> contemporary world is not necessarily subject matters, or issues of the
> day, but rather the mediums of the everyday digital networks that most
> people use on the Internet.
> > This moment(um) becomes an array of impetuses, and this to me is
> >incredibly exciting. Glitch art (again, as [a] communie[s]) is
> >concerned with + has been exploring varies themes: failure,
> >interference/noise, digital punk, digital psychedelia, [retro]
> >nostalgia, entropy, [human/computer] memory,  human+computer interface,
> >hacking/cracking + Intellectual Property, Digital Rights, [planned]
> >obsolescence and/or [anti]upgrade and various other nuances of our
> >digital ecology.
> Well, I would say the spirit of punk or cyber punk exists within this as
> you say 'array of impetuses', but not as a means of changing culture in the
> physical sense. This reminds me for some reason of a piece of text Arthur &
> Marilouise Kroker wrote in their (now) classic publication 'Hacking The
> Future'. "In technology as in life, every opening is also a closing..."
> Yes, it fucks things up, it pulls apart the efficiency of contained and
> (sometimes bland) environments on the net successfully. But, perhaps there
> are particular questions that are in need of being explored in respect of
> values and social contexts, which are not necessarily being asked or
> critiqued in established art arenas. What are the human related intentions
> behind the actions of the main players of the Glitch art movement? What
> doors or questions, are being opened and closed as the 'moment>um' expands
> into multi-crevasses, and cultural dynamics of the day, whether virtual or
> physical?
> There is something which also needs consideration here, such as the
> 'feral' nature of Glitch. There could be an argument that, if there is too
> much logic injected into this nuance of nuances, it can become tame. Less
> of a wave of noises and electric stutters/strutting an existential digital
> and nonchalant weave, but an efficient and cynical process of
> self-conscious, processed murmers of art related justification. Is it a
> case of wanting one's cake and eating it? This is the crux, the difficult
> terrain of becoming 'official' - seen and respected by others. I think the
> renegade 'spirit' or element this work offers, is it's real essence and
> most positive ingredient. And, even though having it discussed here, is
> excellent - it does bring it closer to an accepted form of creative
> 'grownup-ness'. Thus its feral nature, its most attractrive quality could
> be sacrificed, closing one door, in order to open another...
> Wishing all well.
> marc
> www.furtherfield.org
> >
> > First, I want to say thnx to Patrick + all for getting this started,
> it's great to see online critical glitch and/or gl1tch and/or glitch.art
> and/or GLI.TC/H convos formulating so quickly after all the IRL events of
> the last couple months (by which I mean not only GLI.TC/H but also Glitch
> vs Scratch, the FLIP Screening, Algorithmic Unconsciousness, Destructional
> Video at Leeds, d1sc0nN3ct in Egypt [going on now] and all etc.evts I'm
> forgetting), all of which are testament to an exciting moment>um (I mean
> moment>um here, I think, in the same way jonCates did when he referenced
> the international glitchscene)
> >
> > In re:to Andreas, I appreciate that you've introduced politics to the
> conversation but take issue with your framing. I think there is a very
> real/fluid/ongoing glitch && politix thread[s], which we made an effort to
> present at GLI.TC/H in the form of a panel + open discussion.
> Additionally, the political potential of glitch art is (has been) a major
> thread in my own personal work. For me, it is by combining glitch w/ art
> that this potential manifests (not a "deadly grip", but rather
> alimentation). A similar alimentation which is a core motivation behind our
> organizing of GLI.TC/H. I don't think this motivation (and goal) is
> "elitist", in fact it's intentionally (and carefully) open and inclusive.
> Within the context of GLI.TC/H, "glitch art" often refers to a community
> made up of many communities, the art worlds mentioned being one of them,
> but also academia (similar but different from these art worlds), also
> "creatives" (in the commercial/design sense), also non-art world (fringe)
> computer art scenes, also non-professional (amateur/folk) "participatory"
> communities (which often convene on social-media: facebook, vimeo, flickr)
> ---- and I don't mean to create distinct categories here, rather propose
> overlapping/fluid groups.
> >
> > I agree with Rosa, I don't think that the binaries are particularly
> useful (though it was a good starting point for some conversations 7 or 8
> years ago). Additionally, I think the "fetish" perspective is a rash over
> simplification of thousands of works/experiments/endeavors/**thoughts
> being produced by hundreds of artists/thinkers/enthusiasts. I think a more
> useful perspective might be the glitch moment(um), by which I mean, as Rosa
> Menkman defines it, "the moment which is experienced as the uncanny,
> threatening loss of control, throwing the spectator into the void (of
> meaning)", the moment which becomes a catalyst, a potential for
> (contemporary) glitch.errs to exploit, often in the interest of,
> "modulate[ing] or productively damage[ing] the norms of techno-culture."
> >
> > This moment(um) becomes an array of impetuses, and this to me is
> incredibly exciting. Glitch art (again, as [a] communie[s]) is concerned
> with + has been exploring varies themes: failure, interference/noise,
> digital punk, digital psychedelia, [retro] nostalgia, entropy,
> [human/computer] memory,  human+computer interface, hacking/cracking +
> Intellectual Property, Digital Rights, [planned] obsolescence and/or
> [anti]upgrade and various other nuances of our digital ecology.
> >
> > I think this could be a fruitful lens. Rather than debating whether the
> glitch is a glitch if we call it a glitch, I'd be interested in
> discussing/dissecting with yawl the avalanche of activity that has sprung
> up over the last year (couple years) around this idea and, as Curt
> suggested, what it's doing to us.
> >
> > -Nick-
> > http://nickbriz.com
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 12:37 AM, IR3ABF <ajaco at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> >
> >>     Andreas Maria Jacobs, i respectfully disagree w/what i read to be
> yr anti-art position in its most generalized application when you write
> w/sweeping confidence that "the art world's - deadly grip" is sum how a
> totalized effect/affect which will steal away possibility + "eradicate
> every possible trace of authenticity, replacing it with its commodified
> merchandazible fetish derivate." mayhaps you are opposed to Institutional
> Art or the institutions of art. or mayhaps the oppressive socio-economics
> of consolidated wealth/power that give rise to exclusionary elitisms... but
> if so, then these are specifics, not generalities, related to the unruly
> category of what constitutes 'art' or even "Art". && even if these would be
> the cases (that those are yr oppositions in specific) then those
> fears/concerns are warranted in our current context but not sum how
> predetermined. even the way 'we' (an inclusive term which may not be
> well-placed here) dfn 'art' +/or "Art" is technosocial + culturally
> contextualized. the dfns change + art modified over/through times
> >
> >     @Jon Cates,
> >
> >     Well, with all respect, I am somehow missing a clear standpoint in
> *your* movement in how you posit yourselves in conflicting societal
> environments,
> >
> >     I am not discussing the specifics of glitch art 'as is', but about
> the specifics - are there any distinguishable specifics at all or are these
> just pronounced without being established? - of glitch art's relation with
> the established and functioning *art* world in a broader sense, i.e. not
> necessarily correlated or connected with glitch art.
> >
> >     Has art/Art (including glitch art) in *that* art world any *meaning*
> besides its commodifiable fetish as art and if so how then to seperate art
> for the art markets - expressable in wealth accumulation for a small
> exclusive group, from art related with non-commodifiable non-fetish meaning
> and inexpressable in wealth, exclusivety etc etc, using alternative
> value/meaning measuring systems
> >
> >     Without properly formulating an answer or pointing to a direction in
> a problematic field of mutual societal and economical contradictions, I see
> a naive and glitchy international partying bunch of youngsters unaware or
> unwilling to be aware of the dark and gloomy sides of existing art
> hierarchies and I feel offended being confronted by such ignorance if this
> naivety is also publicly stated
> >
> >>     also Andreas Maria Jacobs, im confused/troubled by the positions
> you seem to representing in yr -empyre- email. are you the same artist who
> makes "prints on paper. Signed & numbered, editions of 3" of domesticated +
> aestheticized Glitch Art which is exhibited in galleries (i.e. @
> GLI.TC/H2010 in Chicago) + sold (or @ least intended to be sold) on art
> markets? this is what you represent about yrself vry clearly on yr website:
> http://nictoglobe.com/**new/room/New%20Room/2006/<http://nictoglobe.com/new/room/New%20Room/2006/>
> >
> >     Yes, indeed I do make prints on paper - althought not domesticated
> or aestheticized - at least when I can afford the material costs which are
> currently by far too expensive to even think about, considering the
> physical dimensions I like my works to be. But in case there is interest I
> am more than willing to produce them in any amount or size you want. You
> can find the specifics at the same website
> >
> >     Andreas Maria Jacobs
> >
> >     "Antartica: empty colorful people making empty colorful products"
> >
> >     http://nictoglobe.com (Art Magzaine, Amsterdam 1986)
> >     http://burgerwaanzin.nl (La Resocialista Internacional)
> >
> >     Sent from my eXtended BodY
> >
> >     ______________________________**_________________
> >     empyre forum
> >     empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> >     http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ______________________________**_________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> ______________________________**_________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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