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Label: glitch art

Friday 13th May 2016The Birth of Glitch

It's not very often that you get to see a new genre developing right before your eyes. In the past, artistic movements took time to gain steam, to gain followers and eventually reach a critical mass when it suddenly tips and begins to be considered a genre in its own right.

The digital world has dramatically accelerated this process, thanks to the speed that ideas are disseminated across the globe. The smallest genres that would have fizzled and died before the internet suddenly become viable because everyone around the world can pool their collective ideas.

Take glitch art. Don't worry that you haven't heard of it before, it's still it's infancy - or it may still even be in utero. There isn't an exact nomenclature to discuss how this process works that is readily accessible to most people outside of academia, and even then it's still fairly fluid.

Glitch art is based around the premise of what happens to digital information (which is to say information encoded in 1's and 0's, as all computer files are) when some of the 1's and 0's get scrambled or dropped. You've seen this phenomenon watching modern television, or looking at an internet video that was poorly encoded. Across the arts, creative people were sitting up and taking notice, and glitch was born.

Brian Eno, the famous electronic music artist who helped pioneer the genre, said it best in his book A Year With Swollen Appendicies:

“Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.”

The same holds true with the nascent genre of glitch art. The digital artifacts that come from missing data *become* data in their own right; they transcend themselves even as they transmogrify themselves. Already at least one major music group (The Glitch Mob) has arisen from the glitch movement, and there are many visual artists who are also eagerly awaiting their breakout moment of recognition.

Posted on May 13th 2016 on 06:42pm
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Labels: , genre, glitch art
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