The Art of Glitch | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

The Art of Glitch | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios


Glitch art builds on the aesthetic and experience
of computer malfunction. Glitch art is a lot about getting beyond this notion
that these faults are actually faults. You know, it’s trying to find the soul in the machine. A lot of these images are really
compelling and very interesting. Something’s exposed that maybe you
weren’t quite prepared for it to be exposed. Glitch art is manipulating electronics and how they can be gateways into understanding the cultural values that are associated with our technology. Although they may be intimidating
electronic technologies are actually still open mediums for expression and creativity. When technologies are new we’re filled with all these promises. Manufacturers tell us that these new tools are supposed to become a seamless way for us
to express ourselves. And then we run into unwelcomed behavior, which artists manipulate those tools on
another level to expand our vocabulary for communicating with each other. In the way that punk music was a
reaction against this hyper polished commercial rock and roll of the time glitch art is also a reaction against the hyper
realism that is portrayed in contemporary media. These super high-definition images saturated beyond real resemblance to actual color. Glitch art is really providing people
with material to create their own voice. It’s this notion that we don’t have to
accept what’s been handed to us. Glitch art is a way of taking these fractures in existing
systems and examine them in a way that tries to make sense of them and whether it’s through a still image or moving video or a sound file. There’s a bunch of
different ways of creating glitches. There’s true glitches which are things that
make themselves manifest inside of systems without your intervention.
Like upload an image to flickr or something and somewhere along the way some of the data gets corrupted and you wind up with this weird picture that looks like an image and then all of a sudden you get these like bizarre colors. That’s sort of like a happy accident. Or you can replicate it through other
processes. So what you do is you take like a mp3 file and instead of dot mp3 you rename that file to dot r-a-w. You open up that image in photoshop. It opens it
up as if it were a raw file, which is an image format, and
it reads through it bit by bit and each bit inside of there then becomes a visual
representation of what’s inside that sound file but inside this
black-and-white image. Another way is to take an image and open it up with the text
editor and then you go in and you delete stuff, add stuff in. You’re gonna get
something totally weird. In glitch art, more so than a lot of other
artforms, I am a really big proponent of the idea that the process is more
important. Part of the process is empowering people
to understand the tools and understand the underlying structures in what is
going on inside of a computer. So as soon as you understand the system enough to know
why you’re breaking it then you have a better understanding of what the tool is
built for. I stumbled onto this world of live video performance and
live video software and glitches in an aesthetic choice for me to explore. That was a
revelation because it made video malleable. It made it like clay where you can mold it and bend it and change it in real time. And do edits in real time. Do some limited
effects in real time and then express yourself live. I think a lot of what
glitch art is is finding out all of the strange nooks and crannies and exposing
them and bringing them out to the forefront and showing that they can be
quite interesting and do interesting things. I actually write a lot of my own software
to do these sorts of effects. So some software when i run it, I don’t know what I’m going to get and so part of it is an iterative process of maybe you’ve gone too far you’ve broken the file and it’s unreadable. Maybe you dial it back a little bit. Some of it is faking glitch and making
things look glitchy when maybe they really weren’t or finding ways to actually make it glitch out
in interesting ways. I want to be able to improvisationally react to what’s
going on in the environment. And so if i know that there’s something that I want, there’s like a feeling or emotion with a certain visual, I try to reverse engineering and
in that reverse engineering process I’m trying to find something that’s
beautiful in these moments. And that’s fleeting. I quite like that. I think a
lot of the glitch art will work in that sort of sensibility of
fleetingness and in the moment and it is a very live sort of a thing. Every time you walk through Times Square one of the billboards is glitching out. And you don’t even necessarily notice it at first but if you’re looking for it, they’re there. At first they’re
upsetting but, personally, I find them beautiful. I don’t think any glitch artist is going to say that they have a lot of anxiety about technology. Glitch artists mostly love technology. There’s a project by Jeff Donaldson and Antonio Roberts called Glitch Safari which is just a collection of glitches found in the wild. It’s this way of collecting these found glitches and documenting them. When you start to see the things that you
discover through it that are interesting about the images it becomes less traumatic. And then when you go back and see the glitches it does tend to relieve that anxiety that people have when they see these things break down. Now it has been incorporated into like advertising and all sorts of commercial
work. There’s the Kanye West video and glitch artists have been able to present glitch work in all kinds of institutions. So it’s a good place to be to find
pleasure in these things that are normally upsetting. Being able to control what you’re doing but not completely, that’s the kind of thing I’m interested in. The way that we misunderstand each other and the way that we misunderstand the world. All of a sudden we can misuse things and start experimenting and seeing where it leads you. For me it’s about the aesthetic, about the
moment, about being able to have something that’s happenning with a certain sense of live-ness. One of the reasons that this has become more prevalent as an art form is because people are starting to see
more frequently these sorts of exposures. Glitch is always going to change as our relationship to technology changes. Glitch art is wild. It’s a frontier. It’s sort of
like this really quick and easy way that you see the world.

100 thoughts on “The Art of Glitch | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios”

  1. LoL! Glitching is figuring out how to replicate a real glitch. Opening files with the wrong program is called stupid. Essentially these guys do %1000 less work than a person making a YouTubePoop. At least those people are doing real editing. This guy is just inducing a glitch by removing data randomly to expose how compression works with modern codecs 🙁 RealPlayer would do that for you for free if you tried streaming in the 90's 🙂

  2. I tried the trick where you turn an image to text and then back again, but there were only 4 symbols, "ÿØÿí" and when I tried to change them I got an error, it didn't even show up as a glitch. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong?

  3. You merely adopted the gilch, i was born in it molded by it , i don't have a good computer until i was a man .

  4. this is just stupid, they ruin technology and call it art, that isn't music, it's crap, i could just pour water on my pc and say LOOK AT THE SCREEN! flickering! and then put it on display and call it art, the music i make has nothing to do with the glitch movement, and it's supposed to sound classical and relaxing, not giddy and irritating, and modern electronic music would probably sound better without the glitch movement honestly

  5. but you don't understand, the reason i said this is stupid, is because all these people are doing (all of them) is taking working technology and breaking it, which it was beautiful before, but now it is ruined

  6. Calling glitch art stupid is like calling abstract art stupid. Half of it sucks, but it is VERY AWESOME if it's done right.

  7. is a bleu screen of death on a commercial board also glitch art???, because i always have to laugh when i see something like that :p

  8. This is stupid art is suppose to have a pattern to it even fractals that are considered to be truely chaotic have a pattern to them.

  9. I guess its not for you, but I think its really cool because it represents creativity. Rather, instead of thinking "How can I make something look good?" you are thinking "How can I mess around with the tools I have at hand to create something different."
    Also, its about replicating the unwanted. Techno, for example, has tons of background noise to it. Same here. You are saying that you actually WANT something that most people don't want in this form.

  10. i cant believe you guys didnt mention glitchy music at all, not even the backgroundmusic was glitchhop, breakcore, IDM or something along those lines. If u make a video about glitchart it really should include that.
    /watch?v=cI0AiFG5dXY

  11. I'm really glad that they have Chris Cunningham's stuff slightly involved with this.
    I'm talking about the scenes from 'All is Full of Love' glitched a bit.

  12. The thing he is talking about at 6:12 I keep trying it but my computer always says that the file is corrupted and it wont open it.

  13. How do I find out about these glitch audio visual events? Im doing similar things, surely theres something happening in london? Ive found a couple of things in america, but london?

  14. Not only have I looked into this for the past couple years but I copy the way glitch represent itself as cut copy. For me I take a lot of it's techniques and create them myself. I hope you all comment or e-mail me what you think about my work. Because This is a weird culture to get into and frankly I have no idea why I am so drawn to this mothersagun.tumblr.com…. Thanks

  15. How the hell do you achieve the effect at 5:20 ???

    Adult Swim did it a bunch with their "Off The Air" series. I love glitch so much.

  16. one of first glitch-art i have ever seen was made on VHS and was based on errors that happen during re-recording movie [data] many times, and i think VHS tape was first medium that allowed to consciously glitch visual information

  17. l̆͒͆͊̑̈̇́͝҉̣͍̼̜̗̝͎̰̟͎̠̲̻̖̘̙ͅǫ̴̴̳̗̳͈̳̬̹͔̱̬̦̱̐͐̓̚v̧̧͔̠̩̝̬̼̱̺͇̻̟ͭ͛ͥͣ̿̋͋̾̽̏̐͌̕ȩ̀̈́̔̎͛ͮ̒ͦ̏̈ͮ͛͋̚͘͝͝҉͍͎̼̝̹̼̮̠̼̲̙͔̪̮ ̶̢̗͓̮͈̯͕͙̥̲̬̱͈ͬ͌̈ͤ̆ͭ͆̑͋̈̑ͩ͐ͥ̕g̨̛̣̣͈̠̙͇͉̰̬͚ͯ͑ͫͥͪͥͫͩ͢l̨̙̝͇̩̫̹̭̤̖͔̗͓͖̖̫ͦ͋̌̓̈́̆͑ͯͧ̈́̿͒̚͘͟ḭ̸̛̙̬͓̈́͐ͥ̂̏̐̚t̶̵̶̢̧̞̺̰̳̳̱̗͍̐ͨ͗͆ͥ̂ͧͨc̡̛̹̫͉̰̜̦̞̭̹̱͍̟̳͓̖̑ͯ͑̍̍ͪ̽ͣ͑̇͐͒͞ͅh͐̋͊̎͛͂̔̀͗ͧ̿ͥ̾̋̊ͤ̀̚҉̢̦͈̖̥

  18. glitch music is not a malfunction though, its made through a way more considered process, glitch art is made through faults

  19. I've made a ton of this stuff and didn't even know it! Just play a x264 compressed video in Windows Media Player.

  20. I remembered when the phone glitched and merged shots into one image. I'd use magnets around computers just to see some effects.

  21. I love glitch art and find all this stuff very inspiring. I definitely want to find out more and give it a go! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought glitchy billboards and travel boards were cool!

  22. It's called datamoshing and it's basically mapping the movement of one video onto the color of another. It's caused by compression artifacts that you can force, there are some great tutorials on youtube
    /watch?v=tYytVzbPky8

  23. I was having ago at changing jpegs to txt files and editing them, but windows won't let me open the image once I've changed it back to jpeg because of data corruption. I've tried to open it on paint and photoshop too, same response. Is this something I can work around or does it only work on Macs? I'm just really curious about the outcomes.

  24. it works a lot better on macs, try downloading a hex editor, that will help a lot. there are tons of free ones out there.

  25. He compared glitch art to the punk rock revolution of the 70's. Seriously dude?…Seriously? It is cool tho.

  26. How do you feel about using apps on an iPhone like Decim8 to create glitch using a palette that does not allow the user to alter code? Does it degrade the process of making glitch, making it cliche? What if someone were to use the app as a part of a recipe, then altering code thereafter? Either way, why is it not as valid, or is it valid, just in different ways? What might Duchamp say in this sense as the apps allow art making for the masses and in different even somewhat nontechnical ways? Is this an issue of exclusivity and inclusivity in art making? Just some thoughts.

  27. In case anyone was wondering what the song/music at 1:32 is: the artist is "Professor Kliq" and the song is "Pangea".

  28. Great video, we are going to use this in our workshop to help explain glitch art to young artists we are working with.

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