[-empyre-] turning/re:tuning (in)to Glitched, Cracked, Noise && Dirty New Media Art on empyre

jonCates joncates at gmail.com
Thu Dec 29 04:15:43 EST 2011

on FB, Alan Sondheim posted a 'quick review' of book selections from 2011.
Peter Krapp's Noise Channels, Glitch and Error in Digital Culture was among
the 2011 books Sondheim selected. as i commented in reply to Sondheim's
'quick review' of Noise Channels, Glitch and Error in Digital Culture, i
find Peter Krapp's Noise Channels deeply disappointing. i have read
sections closely + find it a troubling contribution to our emerging
discourse. recently released (in 2011) this is 01 of the books that may or
may not have an impact but i can only hope ppl measure this writing in the
context of discussions such as we are having now on empyre + in relation to
the works/publications of those involved here rather than attributing
authority to the observations Krapp cobbles together

Rebecca Jackson has just recently completed/released her Masters thesis
"The Glitch Aesthetic" for her Master of Arts in the College of Arts and
Sciences at Georgia State University. she has many unique observations, a
few close readings of works by artists who are here (i.e. Nick Briz) + also
alot of mistakes/missteps, both factual + interpretive (in my estimations).
i respond to her thesis openly here:


Daniel Temkin shared a link to the PDF of Jackson's research recently on FB
+ as i follow Daniel's feed as his friend + then this link was pushed up by
"likes" from Nick + Rosa, i "liked" the link as well + downloaded the PDF.
as i write in my open response,  she has alrdy gathered the attn of the
artists she discusses + her work is alrdy being circulated in the
glitchscenes she discusses. this is an example of our current conditions

Temkin has also just now released his new txt collaboration: Notes on
Glitch (0) which im currently reading...

in the course of discussing our invitations wit us (collectively on FB)
Patrick arrived @ an overall schedule. within this framework, Patrick
invited me to contribute around now "to synthesize/actualize the dialogue".
i will try to do a bit of that work now in the following...

as i was preparing these contributions, i reread Margaret Morse's ALIEN
INTERCOURSE: The Poetics of a Listserve Conversation (1), which is a txt
generally about Digital (Arts) Culture in a specific case (study).
remarkably this txt is not widely available online. in this txt Morse
details her experience being invited to join the listserv discussion on
<eyebeam><blast>. she writes: "Of course, conversion on the forum is
virtual and, even If it occurred in contiguous space, the people and their
otherness would still be a construct, the effect of signifieds produced by
texts exchanged at intervals. Here is the enunciative fallacy at work,
conflating the subjects of these network utterances with the minds of
unknown actual people who typed them and clicked on Send. However, far from
being a flaw, it is this difference between ourselves as enunciators or
email senders, and the personas we create and above all, transform—that is
the art. This space-in-between is what we can shift and turn around in: an
edge of text weakens and a bit of wetness leaks in. At its most extreme,
orgasmic pleasure in the loss of boundaries between self and other is
called the "oceanic feeling."
Far from being anonymous, these virtual strangers in conversation have the
power of names, countries, continents, and experiences to challenge each
other. There is an odd pleasure in gaining an unseen or disavowed bit of
ourselves, when, in dialogue, we are called to account...
The listserve, however, is a network, multi-channeled in effect, though one
of its graces is singling someone out for a response just for them... Such
a conversation has different conditions of possibility and a different
impact than a group conversation, just as a conversation in the flesh is
influenced by entirely different factors than a virtual exchange. Meeting
virtual soulmates in the flesh is a thrill; it is also an experience that
reveals the different potentials of social sculpting one-to-one and
many-to-many, virtually and face-to-face.
Considering the loss of public sphere and diminishing venues for
encountering the other, dialogue is a rarity and must be called forth with
effort. The net and the web retain enclaves from the commercial and
instrumental exchange of information. Despite
their newness, these networks are part of an infrastructure that is a
material social sculpture, created and tended slowly and incrementally over
generations. Infrastructure—arteries, ducts, membranes—cannot be separated
from the bodies of a people; thus, to destroy infrastructure is not a
selective or temporary or trivial act." (2)

Morse wrote those words for a printed book about her experiences of a
listserv bax in 2001

i wonder/wander outloud now about how/why this situation is the
same/different in the last daze of 2011

as Patrick said in his intro for me, my projects are directly informed and
inspired by my Media Art Histories research into the prehistories of New
Media Art from the 1960's to the present. i am concerned wit
counter-cultural influences on computing + the experimental Media Art of
the late 1960's/the decade of the 1970's in Chicago. i initiated an Archive
of Phil Morton's work from this period in 2007 after I received a generous
donation of the late Phil Morton's personal video databank from Morton's
surviving partner, the late Barb Abramo. (3)

for those to whom he is unknown, Phil Morton arrived in Chicago in 1969,
joined the Faculty at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago +  one
year later he had founded the Video Area. during the early 1970’s, the work
of Phil Morton in specific, + Media Artists in Chicago in general,
anticipated + developed Open Source approaches to Free Culture,
foregrounding collaborative experimentation. Morton developed a concept for
copyright resistance called COPY-IT-RIGHT. Morton's COPY-IT-RIGHT ethic
motivated the early Video Art communities in Chicago + beyond to share
resources, distribute their work and create decentralized open systems

in 1971 Dan Sandin developed The Sandin Image Processor, a
patch-programmable analog computer optimized for video processing +
synthesis. Morton, who was a friend + studio neighbor to Sandin, asked
Sandin if he could build the first copy of Sandin's original Sandin Image
Processor. Sandin agreed. he + Morton then began to work together creating
the schematic plans for the Sandin Image Processor from 1971 to 1973. they
named this document, that contained the schematic plans for copying Image
Processors, The Distribution Religion. The Distribution Religion was the
first example of a document being released under Morton's COPY-IT-RIGHT
license.The Distribution Religion was given away freely to anyone who was
interested in building their own copy of the Image Processor.

in 1973, Phil Morton introduced The Distribution Religion by saying:

“First, it’s okay to copy! Believe in the process of copying as much as you
can; with all your heart is a good place to start – get into it as straight
and honestly as possible. Copying is as good (I think better from this
vector-view) as any other way of getting ‚’there.’ ” (4)

this position, as articulated by Morton in The Distribution Religion,
constitutes a foundational aspect of his COPY-IT-RIGHT ethic, namely, that
copying is right, morally correct and good. for Sandin and Morton, copying
is not only good. it is necessary for their process, for their project,
because it was conceived of (conceptually and technically) as expandable,
modular, community-oriented, conversational... The Sandin Image Processor
itself is a modular system for realtime audio- video, designed after
modular synths, as an analog computer that is extensible because it is
proto-Open Source

COPY-IT-RIGHT encourages people to make faithful copies, caring for +
distributing Media Artworks as widely as possible. In the 1970's, a
close-knit community of collaborators worked together in Chicago on the New
Media of their time, incorporating digital and analog computing with
realtime audio and video synthesis, processing, computer programming +
experimental improvised performance. (5)

in 2001, i took it upon myself to recreate sum of these energies within new
conditions + situations, a new technosocial context. i developed a concept
(based in traditional Art Historical comparison) of positioning the Media
Art Hystories i describe above in relation to Software Art or Artware. in
terms of teaching, the direct outcome of this work was the Radical
Software/Critical Artware course i created and 1rst taught in the Fall 2001
semester (6)

a direct outcome of the course was the formation of the criticalartware
project. (7) within this project + in my classes which lead to this
project, Jon Satrom developed and defined his Glitch Art styles as an
expression of an aesthetic that was formative for criticalartware and
shaped our projects. Satrom's digital visual style grew out of his
individual experiences as well as our discussions of the concerns of the
criticalartware project. as Satrom himself wwwrote here on empyre bax in
2004: "the look of the graffix brings things out such as the limitations of
the technology used at the time and the aspirations of the graffix
creators." (8) we conceived of and positioned glitch as a critical
intervention in the illusion of cleanliness purported by other less dirty
styles of New Media Art, as i discuss in my essay for this year's GLI.TC/H.
(9) this was a purposeful and intentional positioning of a glitch as a form
of critical analysis or criticality within and through criticalartware. we
discussed this here on empyre, more than 7 years ago, in May of 2004. (10)
bax then i wwwrote: "these points lead to a conversation about randomness,
approaching randomness, the ability of a pre-configured system to behave in
unexpected ways + the glitch as an [aesthetic/approach]." (11)

i have detailed sum of what was not discussed publicly in my txt "On The
Passage of a Few Nodes through a Rather Brief Platform of Participation".
(12) in that txt, i explain that the collaborative criticalartware project
was also based on an aestheticonceptechnique of openness of COPY-IT-RIGHT
in relation to the Media Art Hystories that i archive, preserve + put
forward in the world. i disclose a set conflicts between individuated,
protected + closed source approaches (in terms of artware development) +
the free culture/open source perspective of the group. i characterize these
conflicts as "a seriously detrimental misstep for us as a group. we should
have had consistency in our free culture/open source perspective in terms
of content + structure (i.e. source code)" (13) b/c these inconsistencies
contributed greatly if not primarily to the collapse of the 1rst phase of

this year's GLI.TC/H READER[ROR], in which my essay Broken Records:
Hystories Of Noise && Dirty New Media appears, is also released under
COPY-IT-RIGHT. as the editors express it in their "User Agreement", the "
GLI.TC/H READER[ROR] 20111 is distributed under the copy<it>right license,
copying/sharing is encouraged/appreciated." (14) which leads me bax to
re:connect May 2004 to December 2011 on empyre when issues of EULAs,
openness, archives + glitched artware were discussed/debated actively

i have now re:read the May 2004 empyre archive when i was an invited guest
w/my criticalartware (phase I) collaborators. (15) during that time online,
Henry Warwick accurately described our project as "mystifying interface
cluttered with broken or snippets of icons and highly contexted use of
English". (16) in response, i further explained our project as utilized,
destabilized, + constructed through attempts at "playing w/the desktop
 metaphor as [context/content] + as a hystorical basis for interrelated
cultures." (17) in my response i equated our interests in utilizing,
destabilizing + constructing as being @ least simultaneous + @ most
porously inseparable or mayhaps in my more mannered vocabulary of the time:
'deeply intertwingled in vasty tingletangles of hyperthreaded hystories'.

so i saw this as foundational bax in the summa of 2004: to flow through
construction/deconstruction/reconstruction in realtime networks of meaning,
the way i believe glitchscenes +/or glitch moment[um]s also desire to
move... partially, this position recognizes, as Evan Meaney does in his
projects, that we are made of unstable fluids + that we make Unstable Media

now in 2011, im struck by the fax that empyre facilitates a certain kinda
slow-paced + hopefully intentional convo which im having trouble feeling
thru lately in rltn to our lives online. empyre functions more as an
academic conference/panel discussion which i can appreciate as sum01 who
loves to goto + organizes those sorts of events. but now, the horizontal
speed of communications amidst social softwares makes empyre feel even more
antique to me. as examples, Rebecca Jackson's Masters thesis on Glitch Art
(18) quotes heavily from Iman Moradi's 2004 BA thesis (19) which Briz has
also referenced here this month (20) && which we all have come to know so
well. Rosa's own research for her 2006 dissertation work has also become
foundational in our glitchscenes, released online, distributed rapidly +
widely influential. (21) these are examples of the ways in which our
Digital Cultures can operate in terms of discourse. what is openly shared
can rapidly inform, influence + deepen/extend our discourses/engagements

but in contrast to or rather along a continuum of slowness from AFK
dead-tree publishing projects (in which years commonly elapse between
writing + release) to the days/hours it takes for posts to move thru to
empyre to the pseudo-realtime convos on FB or abbreviated dialogues of
character-limited status updates/tweets, i am thinking/feeling thru how "to
synthesize/actualize the dialogue" as Patrick asked me to

mayhaps a way to do that now is to propose to think/feel thru all these
issues wit other artists/theory-practitioners who have been invoked in this
empyre discussion so far offList + to ask a few questions of a few who are
here (i assume) onList but who have not yet spoken. for instance:

i would love to hear moar from Patrick about how/why to organize this
empyre discussion on “Glitched, Cracked, and Dirty Media”?

+/or warez are our discussions of Cracked, Cracks +/or cr4x0rz in this

+/or dirtiness in Dirty New Media Art?

+/or Marisa, do you have thoughts/feelings on any/all of the above?

looking fwd to our last daze in a hopefully not-so-lonely place
// jonCates

0. Notes on Glitch - Hugh S. Manon and Daniel Temkin (2011)
1. ALIEN INTERCOURSE: The Poetics of a Listserve Conversation - Margaret
Morse  (2001), in Interaction: artistic practice in the network - Amy
Scholder, Jordan Crandall (2001)
2. ibid
3. the Phil Morton Memorial Research Archive is available here:
http://copyitright.wordpress.com + here: http://vimeo.com/copyitright thnx
to Chelsey Hoff, whois currently assisting me in the efforts of the Archive
4. The Distribution Religion - Dan Sandin and Phil Morton (1973)
5. Diane Kirkpatrick is one of the few people prior to me to have written
on the collaborative work of Phil Morton. Kirkpatrick emphasized
collaboration in her exhibition catalogue for the exhibition Chicago: The
City and Its Artists 1945-1978 which she curated at the University of
Michigan in 1978. She details the social aspects of the Media Art Histories
of the collaborative realtime audio video performances of Morton, Sandin,
DeFanti and Snyder. Her discussion of these origins documents the roles
played by each artist in the development of their collaborative projects.
As Kirkpatrick recounts, individual artists from the Chicago video
community presented projects that were carefully pre-planned in the first
Electronic Visualization Event, however, after the event had formally ended
the “DeFanti-Morton-Sandin- Snyder group”, as Kirkpatrick refers to them,
began to improvise. Their improvisation inspired them to continue to work
together in this improvisational manner, jamming on their realtime audio
video instruments.
7. http://criticalartware.net/was/
8.  [-empyre-] nu-retro - Jon Satrom (2004)
9. Broken Records: Hystories i Of Noise && Dirty New Media - jonCates (2011)
10. more than 'push play' : the playfulcybernetics of criticalartware and
experimental video pioneers - empyre (2004)
11. Re: [-empyre-] Hybrid worlds and notion of the hand - jonCates (2004)
12. "On The Passage of a Few Nodes through a Rather Brief Platform of
Participation" - jonCates (2009)
13. ibid
14. GLI.TC/H READER[ROR] - Nick Briz, Evan Meaney, Rosa Menkman, William
Robertson, Jon Satrom and Jessica Westbrook (2011)
15. more than 'push play' : the playfulcybernetics of criticalartware and
experimental video pioneers - empyre (2004)
16. [-empyre-] My $37.93 worth... - Henry Warwick (2004)
17. Re: [-empyre-] Hybrid worlds and notion of the hand - jonCates (2004)
18. The Glitch Aesthetic - Rebecca Jackson (2011)
19. Glitch Aesthetics - Iman Moradi (2004)
20. [-empyre-] glitch device - Nick Briz (2011)
21. Art of Artifacts: Collection of writings on glitch and other noise
artifacts - Rosa Menkman (2006 - present)
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