11/10/2008

Multiplication can produce powerful glitches

At Haip festival I met Piratbyrån, the bureau of piracy which is (one of) the driving forces behind the Piratebay torrent site. The Pirate bureau came to Ljubljana in the S23X, a Swedish modified city bus that they drove all the way down from Stockholm to Bolzano Italy this summer. Especially for Haip, Ollibolli drove the bus from Bolzano to Ljubljana. The Pirate Bureau gave us a tour through the city of Ljubljana and showed us their analog filing cabinet, which includes an illegal, handwritten version of Benjamins' Art in the Age of mechanical Reproduction and over a 100 mixed tapes. On the bus I also met Rasmus Fleischer (he has got his own wikipedia!), who co-founded the Piratbyrån. He attended my lecture on my research about the In-between and glitch art earlier that day, for which as a sharing gesture, I will put my slides up here (I also included my secret notes).
After the lecture, somebody from the audience asked me to describe the difference between a glitch and a bug. I tried to answer this question by first defining what a bug is, following the description of its origins I read on internet.

The term bug was first used in 1947, when engineers working on the Mark II computer at Harvard University found a moth, that was stuck in one of the components. They taped the insect in their logbook and labeled it “first actual case of bug being found.” This incident is the first bug-report in history. The words “bug” and “debug” soon became a standard part of the language of computer programmers.

I concluded that, while a bug is often a definable cause for a failure within a system, a glitch is more widely used, 'magical' term and as such often harder (or impossible) to define. After my answer, Rasmus replied to my answer and took it one step further. He resumed his answer on his blog copyriot.se as:
"You can write a bug report, but you can’t write a glitch report. Recognizing something as a glitch already has something affirmative to it. You could have stopped it, turned the process of or restarted it, but instead you let your initial plan be changed by the unexpected occurrence in-between technology and you. Glitch is, in other words, a mindset. It is totally performative."
I definately share Rasmus claim that digital glitch art is a performative artform (at least the more interesting glitch art). Looking at digital glitch art from this point of view has the positive consequence that glitch art doesnt only need to refer to screen captures or screengrabs that reflect a more passive aspiration for a certain aesthetics, but to glitch art as a practice, in which glitches are intended and often more then just a static image. Somteimes these glitches are even interactive.
As a result I will change my definition of glitch (in digital glitch art) on slide number 7 into:

Digital glitch art refers to art that shows a (performative) break of the conventional flow in a system, which often results in a perceived accident (in a technical, social and/or economic sense). It is important to realize, that both the artist or the audience can do the act of "perceiving".

2 comments:

M. Altemark said...

i saw the link to http://www.datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php on your delicious-feed. but damn! why do they hide the files behind flash! i must have these sounds to load into my LSDJ... must be some way of kring-walking that flash, at least something more practical than recording the output of this computers sound to another(i dont have full duplex apparently)

do you have any idea?

roos said...

Hey!
I was already working on it, because, surely these sounds are to good to be true. And they were just sitting there. hehe.
So this is what i made of it: http://rosa-menkman.blogspot.com/2008/11/failing-harddrive-sounds.html
This was the first time I made a music on my own ever, so please do it better then i did. Btw, I recorded the sounds from my output, then put them in a loop in firefox, and then played some of the sounds continuously, while i turned some on and some of, by closing and opening windows. Firefox as sound software oh-ye!
I have been feeling really bad about not using any open source software but i gues often it just doesnt support what i am doing- trying to break open the politics blablabla, so anyway, this is how i did it, lofi.
So now it is your turn!