dutch introduction to glitch for dummies, first published on the 9th of January 2012.English translation of the full article: GLITCH FOR DUMMIES.
A glitch can be understood as a technological failure, but also as a space for artistic creation. Rosa Menkman is an artist and theorist who researches noise artifacts like glitches, compressions and feedback. In this introductionary article she will give an insight into what glitch means, within the growing (international) community that works with 'glitch'.
─▄──██─▀─█─ THE ACCIDENTAL POTENTIAL OR RU-DI/EMENTIA
"Misfortune and failure are not signs of improper production. On the contrary, they indicate the active production of the "accidental potential" in any product. The invention of the ship implies its wreckage, the steam engine and the locomotive discover the derailment. The accident is the ultimate functioning of a product."
- Paul Virilio, original: The Accident of Art, Semiotext(e): New York, 2005. p.2. Later used as motto for the DEAF Festival (Rotterdam '98).
Today I read somewhere that my two year old Apple iPhone is not going to receive any new software updates. The phone still works perfectly, but unfortunately Apple decided that only her new number four will be legible for updates. In the coming months this will probably not really influence the usability of my phone. I can only speculate how long (or how short) it will actually take until this will influence its usability and finally become the reason for my phone to slide into ru-di/ementia, or maybe the phone will be abandoned sooner, when I accidentally let it crash onto the streets.
Success and failure, function and disfunction or upgrade and obsolescence come hand in hand; they are two sides of the same coin. While the new "better" fourth generation of iphones introduces the definite failure of a third, this upgrade will only bring its own problems and imperfections. And while the perfect technology doesn't exist, both consumers and developers unilaterally support and conserve these myths of improvement and acceleration: a perspective in which the future will continue to repeat itself.
─▄─██▌▌ COMPRESSION ARTIFACTS: THE FINGERPRINTS (ESTHETICS) OF GLITCH
Technically, a glitch is best understood as an unexpected, unexplainable consequence of an interruption within one or more (digital) information-flows. All these flows of digital information are encoded, often with the help of compressions, to store or transfer data as easy and fast as possible, a technique that is normally obfuscated.
However, when a flow of data is broken, its reception can quite possible be corrupted. When the data of for instance an image is corrupted, this can reveal the language of the compression, that breaks through the surface of the image. A technological event that is sometimes used as a tool in art or as a style in design. ☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁
As a result of my research into these different compression artifacts and their esthetics, I wrote "A Vernacular of File Formats": a manual to navigate and create new glitch design through glitching the diglossia of compression and image.
┐█┐┐─▄──█─▀─█ Ġ̮̜̳̬̗̺̼̆̋̓ͬ̄̐̚͜L͖̝̫̻̹̈͊͐͟͠I̗̮͓̱̥̘̳̘͎̓͂̋͑̆T̡̗̗͔̱͚͙̘̒̈͒͆̋͡Ç̖̥̘̟̥ͩ̅̽̓͊ͦͯ̿́H̢͙̝̙̫͛̽́͛͑̉̀͜͟ ART
its technological perspective, was during my visit of the exhibition "World Wide Wrong" (2005, Montevideo/NIMK - a solo exhibition of the Dutch Belgium collective Jodi). The work Untitled Game (1998), a 'broken' version of my then favorite videogame Quake, confused me.
2010/20111 GLI.TC/H documentation
Glitch is not singularly defined. Glitch can be described as technique, an esthetics or within the domain of the arts. But glitch can also be described as a community. Last year (in 2010), in the lead-up to my visiting lectureship at the SAIC in Chicago, jon.satrom, Nick Briz and I decided to organize a glitch festival, which was the beginning of GLI.TC/H. GLI.TC/H had as goal to become a meeting place for different glitch artists and enthousiasts to find a place for discussion and to exchange techniques. This year GLI.TC/H took place in Chicago, Amsterdam and Birmingham and counted over 450 submissions from 30 countries. Besides this, the festival was made possible by 146 crowd funded donations. It was clear to us that the glitch art community is clearly growing.
The first iteration of the festival lead to a couple of insights and considerations, but also a main question: "can and does a festival that is about glitches (corruptions that lay the organizations structures of files bare) be successfully organized via an hierarchical structure?"
As an answer to this problem, we positioned the glitch in GLI.TC/H not as a medium or a genre, but as a living, flowing concept that exists between different communities, that all have their own modules and semantics shaping the glitches in GLI.TC/H. This is also why GLI.TC/H was not just a festival consisting of performances, but also entailed exhibitions, conferences, workshops and (open) publications.