Unstable Signal: Glitch Video | VIVO Media Arts Centre

Unstable Signal: Glitch Video
Co-curated Video Program with Sara Gold and Garnet Hertz
November 11th 2015
VIVO Media Arts Centre

Grayson CookeStill from “HC03” by Grayson Cooke (11:30) (Australia) (2014)

Curated by curator and writer, Shauna Jean Doherty, new media artist, Sara Gold and Garnet Hertz, a Research Chair at Emily Carr University whose research explores themes of DIY culture and interdisciplinary art and design practices.

Program Notes

Glitch art is a genre that emerged in the early 2000s and includes internet and digital artists who create works using damaged technology or who intentionally deconstruct the digital data on which their works depend. The glitch aesthetic is referred to in academic circles as the art of technological failure. This notion was first applied by Kim Cascone in his 2002 article THE AESTHETICS OF FAILURE: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music. In this text he observes that digital music coming out of the late 90s was incorporating the typically unwanted presence of noise, bugs and glitches produced by unstable technology. This harnessing of computer error was a gesture according to Casone that sought to remind its listeners that our control over technology is merely an illusion. This is a sentiment that is maintained by glitch artists today.

This idea of the aesthetics of failure has been taken up by digital glitch artists largely through a process called databending or datamoshing – a method described as a computer’s failure to fully fail. The term databending is a reference to circuit bending which involves the manipulation of simple toys like a speakandspell in order to alter its intended sonic output. Databending involves the deletion or manipulation of the key frames in a digital video producing a psychedelic and fragmented effect. Key frames are a requisite component of digital video files – that most people are not aware of as they are meant to be invisible. By modifying key frames glitch artists bring to the surface the underlying components of digital data. This technique is used by many of the artists featured in the second half of the screening.

This deconstruction of the physical material of the medium has a lineage that extends to film and VHS-based artists. Primordial glitch artists were those that scratched the surface of the film or intentionally deteriorated celluloid using chemical techniques. We see this method used by Grayson Cooke and Pedro Ferreira who use chemicals or mold to damage their film for aesthetic effect. Finally, it is significant to note the role of artists who work deconstructively with VHS tapes and analogue video. The most famous example is Nam June Paik’s experiments with analogue signals and his deconstruction of television technology. For Paik his manipulation of video signals was related to his general critique of mass media.

This screening includes works that are analogue and digital. And though we often think of the materiality of film and the immateriality of digital information – the glitch artists presented herein maintain that digital information too has a material character. This is brought to bear by attacking the 1’s and 0’s that are the very fabric of digital data – always straddling the line between beautiful glitches and complete corruption.

Selected Works

“AWAKE” by Nihil Minus (1:29)(2015)(US)
A lone analog signal drifts through its home circuitscape, picking up accidental currents and magnetism along the way. Far above, knobs are twirled on a video synth, adding an element of control to this electric and desolate journey. Noise flows through every inch of the circuit. Signals. Drifting. Dune, 1984. Noise. Silence.

“Impressions on Filmscapes” by Pedro Ferreira (7:07)(2014)(Portugal)
Film is not dead, it’s a living thing.

“Outeretina” by Daniel Wechsler (4:05)(2015)(Israel)
Electrical events striking matter- passing though light rays. Altered perception initiating new triggers.
Now you see it, now you don’t.

“Make War” by Daniel Wechsler (2:07)(2015)(Israel)
The yet to be titled visual technique used is a result of user and CPU errors- I shouldn’t have pressed that, and the CPU shouldn’t have done that. The new visual bbehaviourcreated is a random and unstable glitch, replacing objects outlines with arrows and single pixels. ‘Make War’ reflects on the process of creating the war machine through human equalization.

“The backside of perception. Disassembling a camera.” by Ulrike Königshofer (4:20)(2012)(Austria)
The video shows the record of a camera, that is ddisassembledinto its component parts during the recording. The action does not take place in front of the camera, but within it, thereby it refers beyond the image. And so does the sound of tools on the casing, which somehow is not located in the image but rather behind it. Usually ,this kind of place is not shown in movies, which appear to be mere windows. The viewer of the film is situated where the camera was at the recording, so that the body of the camera disappears in between.The video work “The backside of perception” refers to that body of the recording and its borders. Further it draws an analogy to our perceptional system – the mechanisms which allow us to see, are not part of what is seen, they are excluded.

“RUPTURE (TRAiNSposition)” by Nance Davies (2:34)(2014)(US)
RUPTURE is a video-sound piece exploring multiple instances of time and space perception experienced during a subway ride where rider and train are fused into a hybrid, neural pathway. A conflated, collective nervous system fires sensory signals and intermittent synaptic spasms. There is awareness of moving from something that is material to something that is not. Reality is both accelerated and elaborated as it shifts between the ‘everywhere-all-at-once’ and the ‘right-here-now’.

“Me You::You MeUME::JST” by Σ=§vonica (1:53)(2015)(Italy)
Reflecting, Mirroring, Assuming, Enjoying, Suffering, Feeling, Absorbing, Resonating.

“Termuda Briangle” by Eduardo Makoszay Mayén (4:00)(2015)(Mexico)
An audiovisual collaboration between Mexican filmmaker Eduardo Makoszay and Chilean musician Ninosindigo. The work portrays the interaction of nature with recurring patterns and textures melting in a multi-layered digital environment reflecting the internal sensations of a human dancer.

“HNO3” by Grayson Cooke (11:30)(2014)(Australia)
This work presents photographic negatives enveloped in nitric acid, acetic acid, and sulphuric acid. “HNO3” is part of AgX, an art-science project about material memory and forgetting; it features time-lapse macro-photography of photographic negatives being chemically destroyed.  Each work in the series explores the chemical decomposition of photographic negatives via redox reaction, ion exchange and electron transfer.

“I Believe it is a Signal” by Jason Bernagozzi (6:12)(2012)(US)
This work is an experimental video that reorganizes archived and contemporary news footage through various glitch processes. The structure of the video is organized as a 6-part vignette, each section is a more intense disturbance of the video code, which eventually tears apart the image into a flowing mass of color over time. In the spirit of Nam June Paik’s early Wobulator work, this piece uses a pixel abstraction process that bleeds the image over the screen, making the pixels appear to rupture. The forced reorganization and eventual glitching bodyscapes suggests that the monumental authority of broadcast and streaming media is in fact a fragile and impermanent signal.

“Hypnagogia” by Will Luers, Composed by Roger Dean (6:00)(2013)(US)
Hypnagogia is a state between wakefulness and sleep, in which a flood of dream-like impressions cross the mind. The video and audio is constructed as a palindrome.

Artist Biographies

Nihil Minus is a multimedia artist from New York, experimenting with new and forgotten technologies, video art, and hypermedia.

Pedro Ferreira, born in Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal in 1988, is a media artist working mainly with film, video, sound, photography and digital media. In 2013 he received his masters degree in multimedia arts and culture from the University of Porto. In 2014 he was selected for the European Media Arts Residency Exchange programme “Move On” at the Images Festival in Toronto. He has presented his works internationally in alternative spaces, festivals, galleries and museums. For the past two years he has run a live-cinema performance group called Derme and collaborated with several international artists at places such as MWW Contemporary Museum and BWA Gallery of Contemporary Art in Wroclaw, Poland and MOCCA in Toronto, Canada. Most recently his films have screened in Toronto’s 8Fest, Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Festival International Du Film D’Environment in Paris, New Horizons Wroclaw and Curtas Vila Do Conde and IndieLisboa in Portugal.

Daniel Wechsler is a video artist & audio engineer currently based in Tel-Aviv. Focusing on the creation of new video techniques, he uses computer errors and malfunctions to create visual ’bugs’. As an SAE graduate, his preliminary field of expertise was audio engineering for post production, working both in London and TLV. For the past 7 years he has been filming, editing and creating video & digital art.

Ulrike Königshofer was born in 1981 in Koglhof, Austria and currently lives and works in Vienna. She attended The School For Arts and Crafts Graz and The University for Applied Arts Vienna.

Nance Davies is a Boston based, interdisciplinary artist and curator whose work explores the impact of mass-mediated culture and consumerism on inter-relationships and interdependence of all life forms. Davies studied at Yale School of Art and received an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She was the recipient of the Coleman Award (Boston University) and the Zorach Fellowship (Skowhegan). She has exhibited in New York City, Boston, Melbourne Australia, London, Dublin Ireland, Istanbul Turkey, Baltimore, Oakland, Portland, OR, and Rockport and Portland, ME. Davies teaches in the Graduate and Foundations Departments at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Σ=§vonica aka Sonia Laura Armaniaco is an audiovisual artist who sometime lives and works in Italy, otherwise where her laptop brings her. She has shown her works worldwide since 1988, since then her art research is on visual and sound,

with audiovisual installation, multidisciplinary live performance, video art and discreet vj performances in Europe and in the United States. Music was her first passion, because of this she has sympathy for her right side of the brain, and as it works non-linearly she loves the kind of “editing” happening in dreams; dreams as investigation territories and cut\ups working, always looking for accidental beauty.

Eduardo Makoszay Mayén (Mexico City, 1992). Studied filmmaking in the university Centro de Diseño y Cine in Mexico City. He has been part of workshops with artists like Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, Nicolás Pereda, Matias Piñeiro, and Nicolás Nuñez. His shortfilm ‘Tenerife’ was premiered at Sitges Film Festival 2014 at New Visions selection. In February 2015 he got a place in SÍM Residency in Reykjavik. His film ‘Sin esperar que algo pase” was shown in the ‘Laboratorio para un cine posible’ at Festival de Cine del Desierto. He has performed live visuals at festivals like Mutek.Mx 2014.

Born in New Zealand and based in Australia, Grayson Cooke is an interdisciplinary scholar and media artist, Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. Grayson has exhibited and performed in major international festivals such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, NeMaf in Seoul, VIDEOFORMES in France, TIVA in Taipei, and the FILE Festival in Sao Paulo. As a scholar ,he has published over 25 articles in academic journals. He is also an associate editor for the online peer-reviewed journal “Transformations.” He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal.

Jason Bernagozzi is a video, sound and new media artist in upstate New York and is the co-founder of the experimental media arts non-profit Signal Culture. His work has been featured nationally and internationally at venues such as the European Media Arts Festival in Osnabruk, Germany, the LOOP Video Art Festival in Barcelona, Spain, the Beyond/In Western NY Biennial in Buffalo, NY, and the Yan Gerber International Arts Festival in Hebei Province, China. His work has received several awards including grants from the New York State Council for the Arts, free103point9 and the ARTS Council for the Southern Finger Lakes.

Will Luers is a visiting professor in the Creative Media & Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver where he teaches multimedia authoring, creative programming and video production. His projects have been exhibited internationally and selected for various conferences, including ELO in 2008, 2011 and 2014; and for FILE in 2014. In 2010, he was awarded the The Vectors- NEH Summer Fellowship to work on his database documentary, The Father Divine Project. In 2005, he won Nantucket Film Festival and Tony Cox Award for Best Screenplay.


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