Coded Perception [the New Aesthetic @SETUPUtrecht]

Last week I shared my ‘perspective’ on the New Aesthetic with SETUP [a space in Utrecht which hosts events on digital culture] which held an opening for their Coded Perception expo. From their site [translated from Dutch via Google]:

  • What images constructs the computer as he looks to our world? During the exhibition ‘Coded Perception‘ you can take a look at the new visual culture that originated here, and the responses of designers, thinkers and artists on this elusive imagery.

I was one of 8 artist/academics asked to curate a ‘perspective’ on the New Aesthetic using their projection expo tool. Below is the video I recorded for the introduction && my notes + links to the pieces which were projected.

#tag #glitch

“A glitch isn’t inherently ‘New Aesthetic,’ but it certainly becomes that when appropriated. Just like the voxel sculptures, glitch revels in the visual result of a functional system purely for its aesthetic merit.” – -Kyle Mcdonald

The following are ‘glitch’ works/observations I’ve appropriated for inclusion in this expo, thus having tagged them #theNewAesthetic. Some of these glitches have been provoked/composed by artists while others are less domesticated.

The New Aesthetic has been labeled a #movement, a kind of #genre and even a #NewWayOfSeeing. I prefer to label it a #conversation, in that it is less of an organized + manifesto-driven + institution and rather a collection [tumblr blog] of observations && relations [#tags == #glitch being one such tag]. An artist provoking glitches w/in their practice [and by the same token, a glitch naturally occurring w/in a digital system] is not concerned with the New Aesthetic. It is the New Aesthetic [or rather its champions && critics] who are concerned with glitches.

A quick google search for the new aesthetic will land you on tumblr, Gizmodo, Wired, the Atlantic, the Creators Project, etc. It is on this blogroll [and their comments] that the New Aesthetic #conversation is taking place, and where the works of [unsuspecting] others have been collected and offered to the rest of us as insight.

I’ve collected #glitches here for the insights they [may] possess about our digital culture + in being re-contextualized from ‘accidents’ worth discarding [or worse, fixing] to the subject of our attention: sometimes to disturb social [media] order, sometimes to bare witness to [otherwise] invisible systems, and other times… yes, as an #aesthetic.


Kitten Glitches (Jake Elliott)
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“Kitten Glitches takes images posted to Flickr that Flickr users have tagged w/the term ‘kittens’ + processes those found objects w/a “pseudorandom automatic databending script” then posting to a tumblr account.” [ jonCates, from ‘lists, boards, friends and feeds (PART V)’ on ]. Many of Jake Elliott’s artware projects take the form of an automatic tumblr or twitter bot. These are sincerely considered, yet fun + playful + flippant. “Flippancy is antagonistic to art that prides itself on the importance of criticality. It not only upends the critical, but treats it as no more important than fun, than enjoyment, than entertainment. One could even say that debasing criticality is what flippancy does for its own entertainment.” [ Beth Capper, from a txt message ]

Glitchaus (Jeff Donaldson)
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The digital made physical + the digital made fashion. For a handful of years artists [ like Melissa Barron ] have been working at the intersection of digital glitches and mechanically produced textiles. Most recently artist Phillip Stearns pre-sold $12,100 worth in glitch textiles [ +a few grand more in donations ] on Kickstarter. Jeff Donaldson (aka noteNdo) has recently launched ‘Glitchaus’, a design house devoted to, ‘glitch as a new paradigm in design.’ Donaldson began hacking [now vintage] game consoles in 2001. More recently he’s begun appropriating from his screen based practice to produce his new line. “Last year Antonio Cavadini, AKA Tonylight, and I worked together on a one of a kind button down for his personal collection. Custom made in Milan, Italy, the print is an 8bit design I created with one of my prepared NES. The same design was knit for the 2011 scarf editions. These are some pictures Antonio sent.” [ Jeff Donaldson, from the Glitchaus tumblr ]

Book of Durrow (as observed by Curt Cloninger)
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“And so when you see a picture like this [ satellite image of agricultural patterns ], you see pixels, right? Those aren’t pixels. Those are fields. They’re irrigated fields on the border of Namibia and South Africa. But because we expect to see things in a certain world, our understanding of where the border between physical and digital has changed, because we’ve experienced this kind of imagery and these kind of views before, and we’re unconsciously comfortable of them being mixed up.” [ James Bridle, from ‘Waving at the Machines’ transcript ] Similarly, we could look at the entropy of the past [from our digital vector view] and tag it #glitch. “The Book of Durrow is a piece of analog ‘media’ created around 680 A.D. which has gradually glitched over the last several hundred years. Certain parts of it were colored with a pigment that has eaten away at its vellum substrate. This glitch actually follows the contours of the original ornamentation. It is a very slow glitch.” [ Curt Cloninger, from ‘GltchLnguistx: The Machine in the Ghost / Static Trapped in Mouths’ ]

$23 Quadrillion Charge (Visa)
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“A technical snafu left some Visa prepaid cardholders stunned and horrified Monday to see a $23,148,855,308,184,500 charge on their statements. That’s about 2,007 times the size of the national debt. Josh Muszynski, 22, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was one Visa customer aghast to find the 17-digit charge on his bill. Adding insult to injury, he had also been hit with a $15 overdraft fee.” [ Jason Kessier, from ‘Glitch hits Visa users with more than $23 quadrillion charge’ CNN News ]. “Muszynski is still a customer of the bank, but now he checks his account balance every day. As another result of this incident, he has shifted his spending behavior to a more old-fashioned approach: ‘I now pay for things using cash. I used to rely on my debit card, but it’s just easier and safer for me to go to the bank and take cash out for what I need’” [ Jeff Papows, Ph.D from “GLITCH the Hidden Impact of Faulty Software”]

GLTI.CH Karaoke
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Kyougn Kmi and Daniel Rourke [collectively known as GLTI.CH Karaoke ] facilitate happenings where participants are invited to sing karaoke duets with one another. Breaking from tradition, participants are paired with partners halfway across the world, singing together over the Internet. “Using free versions of Skype, YouTube and collaborative web software, we orchestrated duets between people who had never met each other, who didn’t speak the same language, bypassing thousands of geographic miles with glitchy, highly compressed data and a little bit of patience.” [ GLTI.CH Karaoke, from their website ] At these ha[ngs]ppenings Kmi and Rourke go to great lengths to avoid glitches + delays + drops [having been present at a few I can attest to this] while trusting in the network’s unreliable signal to not render their name [GLTI.CH] innapropriate.

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Glitchr is the online [ facebook, tumblr && twitter ] handle of #NewMediaArtist + #SocialMediaInterventionist, Laimonas Zakas. Glitchr has made it his mission to find + exploit bugs + wholes w/in social media systems. His most notable works are perhaps the ‘hacks’ he has ‘exhibited’ on his facebook fan page. Comments + text that spill out of their frames and windows that feedback infinitely inwards are among the behaviors his page exhibits, but only temporarily–every hack Glitchr ‘composes’ facebook ‘fixes.’ “I have counted more than ten Facebook employees from FB HQ, not to mention those from international departments [as fans], […] They probably like Glitchr to detect bugs. Don’t know how much truth is there, but by now, the following bugs, that I have used in my posts, were fixed: Embedding animated pictures in notes, sharing animated pictures in thumbnails, unlimited extension of text in the post to the right side and some others.” [Glitchr, quoted by Alexia Tsotsis on techcrunch ]



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