Datamosh clip from Keana Alden on Vimeo.

Reading Response to Glitch Feminism and Queer Glitch

Thinking of glitch and error as expressing sexuality was not something that I thought I could grasp until I read the writings of Russel, Parkhill, and Ridgers. Russell’s piece discusses how glitch can be seen as a digital orgasm, something that makes us wait and yearn for material that we want to access but aren’t able to. This was a very interesting comparison to me, but once Russel connected glitch to feminism, the reading got much more exciting to me. She argues that because glitch defies the system, it can be compared to feminism which itself breaks away from the patriarchy that has marginalized females and female satisfaction. The writing by Parkhill and Ridgers doesn’t compare error to feminism, but instead explores the way in which queer theory compares queerness as something of an error. This writing also explains how HIV is queer itself and how it is queer to gay media systems. Both readings take glitch and error and intertwine the ideas of these things with social issues that our society is dealing with in our digital age. Glitch and error are used as mechanisms that fight back against the system, much like feminism and queerness disrupt the system of hegemony and ideologies that our society relies so greatly on. It is important to understand that the systems our society have put in place can in fact be broken apart, and once they are, there is room for new and better systems of knowledge and meaning to form. 

Glitched Soundscape

Glitched Soundscape 2 from Keana Alden on Vimeo.
*Note: I was unable to post this audio onto Soundcloud because I do not own the rights to the song that I used.

For my soundscape I used three primary layers of sound. These three layers include the song “Dust to Dust” by the Menahan Street Band, raw ocean sounds, and the audio of an intimate interview of Marilyn Monroe. I chose to only glitch small sections of the song so that the flow was only interrupted for a second or two at a time. This was done by playing with the sound effects section on Garageband, until the sound was distorted to my liking. I additionally manipulated the interview audio so that Marilyn’s voice sounds as though it was poorly recorded. One set of the ocean sounds are not glitched, but there are an additional set of ocean sounds that I did glitch, which ended up sounding very digitalized. I wanted to capture the vibe of the glitched sunset photo, therefore my soundscape is relaxing and funky; supplementing the photo of some surfers at sunset at Sands beach in IV. The interview audio of Marylin adds an element of reflection about happiness and solitude, bringing to life the figures in the photos as if they had her thoughts themselves.

Soundcloud Account

Artist Statement – TerraTech

The relationship between nature and technology is not only complex, but also quite controversial. For the glitch art that my group and I are collaborating on, we are drawing on the similar aspects, as well as the juxtaposition, of nature and technology. Through a series of glitched videos and sounds, we will attempt to question the stereotypical view of these topics and prompt thought around the ideas including; human connection to nature, parallels between nature and certain technologies, and the devastation that certain technologies have had on the environment, such as e-waste. The purpose of the piece will not be to answer any specific questions regarding nature and technology, but instead to spark thought and conversation regarding the topics at hand. The piece will be a combination of meanings set forth by the individuals in my group, and in combination, will be up to interpretation by the given audience. 

This piece will include not only ideas of my own, but also those of three other glitch art students. What I will personally contribute is my vision for the piece, as stated above, as well as the skills I have individually gained during my time studying glitch art. As to what we have so far, I have contributed images and gifs to the mood board, as well as a flow of emotions of which I hope to convey throughout the final art piece. Additionally, I have contributed ideas and potential sequences to be included in the story board, of which will be implemented into the final piece as well. For the final piece itself, the skills I have gained while studying glitch art will be put to the test. Some of these include the ability to manipulate images using code through the app, Processing, as well as by converting the images to text files and then to images again. Additionally I have learned how to import 3-D figures onto Blender, and manipulate them by changing code. Further, I understand how to create moving animations out of these 3-D figures; a skill that I will definitely attempt to integrate into the final art piece. Glitched sound and music will be another aspect of the piece of which my group and I are currently learning how to create and play with. 

But technical skills are only half of what goes into a dynamic art piece such as this one. Glitch art has to do as much with technical skill as it does with media theory and ideology. Glitch as art or within systems that constitute our “network society”, reveals, or can be used to reveal, that which has been made invisible. Glitch brings to light the interworking of systems that have been purposefully concealed, in order to expose the truth behind the way in which the system operates, or simply that the system is in fact a system of operation. The use of glitch in our art piece will firstly acknowledge that the digitalized aspects of the piece, the images, video, and sound, can be manipulated and broken down in order to reveal their raw form; that which is invisible or not implied. Yet from a broadened and more philosophical perspective, our glitch art piece will prompt the questioning of the relationship between nature and technology. Parallel to how glitches reveal the invisible aspects of a system, our art piece as a whole will reveal what has become invisible to society regarding the production and disposal of certain technological objects.  

This final piece created by my group and I will be the product of the knowledge gained after the creation of all of our earlier glitch work, as well as the knowledge we have acquired from studying glitch theory and previous artists who have used glitch within their works. Many glitch artists have personally inspired me, and their works have become somewhat inspiration for what I plan to contribute to the final piece. Mark Klink is a 3-D glitch artist who’s work has definitely inspired me. The 3-D faces that he has manipulated using glitch especially grabbed my attention. These figures present a natural looking human head which has been partially manipulated in some way. The figures themselves remind me of a combination of nature, or the natural, and technology. In this instance, the pieces are very appealing and represent a sort of balance between nature and technology or nature and the digital. I hope that I can implement this idea of balance between nature and technology in part of my final art piece, although I plan to eventually show contrasting elements of the two as well. Jessica Westbrook is another artist who’s work is inspiring.  I really enjoy the purpose behind one of her glitch projects specifically, as she states that the work, “makes visible what is ordinarily invisible: social transactions and vulnerability, in code, with histories, intentions, and life cycles”. I believe this approach to art is important and can really make a different in contemporary society. 

The purpose to my group project, will be quite similar to Westbrook’s piece, in an ideological sense. With the combination of visions of nature and visions of technology, our glitch art will reveal that not only the digital form in which the images and sound being shown originate, but also the invisible world behind the production of certain technologies, how their waste is dealt with, and their negative effect on the environment; topics that are not always discussed or acknowledged. My hope for this art project is to explore the complex relationship between nature and technology, and to prompt conversation on this controversial topic. 

Thoughts on Error, Music, and Noise

It’s interesting to think of errors and glitch in a positive light, especially living in a “network society” which relies so completely on efficiency, accuracy, and predictability. But by exploring how error might function positively within our controlled society, we can see that error can reveal not only the failure within a system, but how that system works and operates; a logic that is not always known or thought about. Error must be seen as revealing of the truth, instead of as something that needs to be protected. Noise error too can “mark a potential to throw off systems of control by deferring the actual message received and sustaining the virtuality of equivocation”. And further, glitch can also be used creatively in the form of electronic music. Failure of digital technology is harnessed in a playful exploration and used to make music. What I believe is so great is the use of failure to make something new, to create. If we can find potential and use in the failures of the systems that make up so much of our lives, then our existence will become a much more positive one. In a world where error and glitch are seen as set backs, it is those who take advantage of these failures that will be prosperous.

Broken Hands – 3D Glitch Video


Broken Hands from Keana Alden on Vimeo. 

Broken Hands – 3D Glitch Screenshots

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 10.32.28 AM
3D Hand
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3D Hand glitched with text edit
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 10.35.18 AM
… Continued
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 10.56.23 AM
3D Hand glitched on blender
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.23.15 AM
3D Hand glitched with text edit by copy and paste
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.23.32 AM
…Bottom side
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.29.01 AM
Double 3D Hands created on blender
Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 11.31.15 AM
Double 3D Hands glitched with text edit copy and paste

Thoughts on “The Subversive Use of Theory”

Currently thanking the Universe for this short essay. As a little sister to a current Stanford Law student, choosing to be a FAMST major was a bit difficult for me. However I chose to get an education in what mentally turned me on, not based on what major would make me the most money or make my family the happiest. In “The Subversive Use of Theory” the problem of combining a career with a purpose in life is addressed and the idea of Universities producing experts is critiqued. The essay argues that “thinking is about asking fundamental questions” as opposed to simply solving problems that may be defined by society or by the state. Instead of creating experts to clean up the messes that our society creates, the essay argues that we must educated people to become thinkers who will not simply clean up the mess, but change the system so that future messes will not be possible. These thinkers will address problems from a global or philosophical perspective. I might not be able to address political issues by working for the UN like my Stanford educated brother may, but with film knowledge and a background in contemporary cultural theory, it could be possible for me to address the same problems through art and film; enhancing the perspectives of a mass audience and prompting change.

Getting to Know Glitch   -Tutorial 1 and Reading 1-

The beauty of glitch art is that the artist or user may direct the end product but never themselves produce the end product. This allows for the error, which may have been imposed, to control the eventual fate of the piece. The artist sets up a system that has potential and then the error is what fills the potential of the system and gives it new meaning. For Tutorial 1 I was able to direct certain systems by manipulating the text code of images to generate errors that would result in outcomes that I generally had an understanding of, but could not completely control. The images I chose to manipulate were originally 35mm film photos that I took on a disposable camera and then scanned onto my computer. I chose the film photos because they too embody a similar sense of glitch art. After taking photos on a disposable camera, the film must be processed before you are able to see the actual images. The photographer can choose what to take photos of, yet there is an aspect of uncontrollability in how the photos may turn out because if the film is processed by someone other than the photographer, then the photos may end up having different coloring or clarity than the photographer intended. Glitch art is produced by processes that also prompt a sense of uncertainty, as the ultimate outcome of an image cannot be completely controlled or foreseen by the artist. I believe what makes glitch art so pleasing and rewarding is that it generates and produces that which is not expected.

Favorite record
35mm film of IV
35mm film of Tahoe
35mm film of party
35mm film of friends
35mm film of boy
35mm film of momo