Glitch Exhibits and Architecture

The first glitch art exhibit I’ve found was a multimedia exhibit called “Glitchicago: An Exhibition of Chicago Glitch Art” held at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern art at Chicago in 2014 from August 1st to September 28. It exhibits the works of 22 multimedia artists from all over the world. A round table discussion was held, asking the question: “once we induct glitch art into art history, is glitch art dead?” I would have loved to have heard how the discussion went. In keeping with the open nature of the glitch subculture, anyone was welcome to contribute their art to a website, which would be on display during the exhibit. Unfortunately, the website does not work anymore.
The second glitch art exhibit was held from April 6 to the 13th at Counterpath, a gallery space located in Denver Colorado. The exhibit featured six international digital artists: Giselle Beiguelman, Kim Asendorf, Rosa Menkman, Jimmy Joe Roche, and Rick Silva. According to the information, this glitch art exhibit features technological glitches marked by feedback, pixelation, color distortions, and static.
Titled “Glitch Moment/ums“, the third glitch art exhibit was held from June 8th to July 28, 2013 at the Furtherfield Gallery in the McKenzie Pavilion in London, UK. Curated by Rosa Menkman, it featured her artwork and seven other international glitch artists. This exhibit also featured a website for anyone to contribute their own glitch art. Unfortunately, it’s the same website as before so it doesn’t work.
Next is the permanent, or I assume its a permanent glitch art exhibit, since the exhibit itself is an entire building. The building is located at the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art in China. The building was designed by WAA (We Architect Anonymous) as “a radical point of departure from the dominant design ideology of our times, a significant rupture of the orthodoxy”. The building must be understood in the context of the developments of architecture in the age of globalization, which has been ” a quasi universal process of homogenization, an unprecedented impoverishment of the diversity and complexity of architecture, to the point that even its rare exceptions also fall into the same mold and follow a predictable norm.” 2016-05-27 21-33-37.png
The last exhibit is not technically an art exhibit but the art museum itself, a permanent building called “H3333333K” located in Basel, Switzerland. It was designed by an art group called !Mediengruppe Bitnik and opened on September 8, 2015. The building was intentionally designed to look like a software error, a digital glitch of an image, hence the jagged edges.
Researching about these glitch art galleries and having produced our own glitch art projects for Reel Loud gives me a better appreciation for glitch art and for the art exhibits that feature it. It rejects elitism by encouraging active participation from people of all artistic levels, thus ignoring the dualism of high and low art. It is a fluid form of art, and can serve an infinite number of purposes as an aesthetic art, a political art, in a wide range of mediums (film, painting, sculpture, architecture, etc). Glitch is the art of the masses.

Aesthetics of the Error- Human vs. Machine

In Tim Barker’s piece, Aesthetics of the Error: Media Art, the Machine, the Unforeseen, and the Errant, he breaks down his discussion into two segments: The Art of the Machine/The Art of Error, and Errors/Potentials/Virtuality. In both sections, I found the collaboration between human and machine to be both fascinating and thought provoking: How prominent is human intervention in the creation of glitch art as opposed to the power of both the machine processor and the virtual?

In the first section, Barker discusses the artist’s involvement in facilitating glitches through setting up what Manual DeLanda conceived to be “degrees of freedom” (46). This posits the artist as an overseer of the occurrence of the error by arranging certain conditions, while the machine itself creates the error. At first this made me think that the artist’s work is easy- just think of a concept for a glitch, and the machine will do it for you. However, conceptualizing a glitch that both expresses one’s vision and is at the disposal of a certain processor is not an easy task, and just like a director of a film, the artist must make sure everything is orchestrated in a precise way in order to bring their vision to life. The machine can then be seen as the film crew who makes it happen, and the errors (or the film) are a result of the many moving parts involved in bringing an idea to life.

Barker’s second section also blew my mind, as he quoted Steven Shaviro’s definition of the virtual as “’a field of energies that have not yet been expended, or a reservoir of potentialities that have not yet been tapped’” (50).  This caused me to visualize all of the potential errors that could possibly occur not only in art but in every aspect of life and the actions we make, especially in this digital age when so much of our being exists in a virtual landscape. I was especially interested in Manovich’s cultural communications model, and how our post-digital cultural communication can be interpreted as “SENDER-SOFTWARE-MESSAGE-SOFTWARE-RECEIVER” (48). We usually do not think of software as part of our human culture, but this model emphasizes the cultural significance of all of the software that mediates our human experiences and interactions with one another. We rely so much on this software, that errors have a big impact on the flow of our social and personal lives. Glitch art points out the power that this software has by bringing it to our attention and shaking up the seamless digital communication channels that we depend on so heavily. It utilizes the virtual by providing an alternative to both error-free software and the infinite amount of other glitches that could occur either independently or simultaneously. Overall, each interaction between human and machine can result in an array of different outcomes, and neither facilitator has full control.