Throughout the different means of glitching (whether they are a true glitch or an organized script that creates a glitched effect) lies the principle of data corruption over time through an outside influence.

Simply put it is the forced manipulation of the objects DNA to achieve a result that best represents the artist’s vision.

Common tools used are text editors (wordpad), audio editors (audacity) and hex editors. Each achieves effects that are unique to their medium. Not unlike the differences between oil paint, pencils or pastels.

And not unlike any other technique, tools have been developed to ease the curve for the amateur and/or designer looking for a quick effect for their current project. As of this moment I can successfully “glitch” anything on my phone through the utilization of these apps. However, the effect will be banal since like so many other apps their overuse diminishes the meaning of the work created.

Yet their use can also be one more tool in the artist's box. Just like a retro filter on Instagram can conjure up a nostalgia a routine glitch, when applied right, can point towards a corrupt memory or an otherwise distorted reality.

First, a captured image can never be of the “now” since having been captured it's now has already passed. It is lost to time. A recorded memory that only represents the reality of where the lens was pointed. But this is supplemented by the recorder’s memory as well. They were present when the now was recorded and through their observation of the moment (however subjective that it may be) they color that past with additional data that is not fixed via pixels. This data, however, isn't stable as it is subject to the waxes and wanes of the recorder's mental capacities and as time passes that data is colored more and more by further experience, observations and/or the deleterious effects of aging, alcohol/drugs, hard times, good times, etc.

Perhaps in another time, before the written word when the visual was all that we had we had better memories or possibly truer memories. Memories that even though they were through a cloud shine bright enough to let's those see the deeper truth. But in today's rave there are simply too many lights for one to see with clarity.

As such one is presented with too many options for their work--too many versions as it were--and the desire to be ever present is far too great.

A modern work can be governed by VCS. It can be rolled back, forked, downloaded and cloned.

This is impossible with a work made as artifact.

Whether the artifact is made for a museum or a private collection the majority of interactions with it will exist in a virtual space through a digital version of it. And while it will be argued that to truly appreciate the work one must be present in it's physical space this is a reality only possible for the select few (those that are lucky enough to live in the region or are fortunate enough to be able to travel to its location). This option must be regarded as sloppy intellectualism, especially since all style is a formula and that formula can be studied validly from any location with the only hindrance being the lack of proper recording of that formula by parties interested in keeping them secret for sale of market values, etc.


Second, because these new works can be versioned and forked there is a deeper fulfillment of the artist's obsession with painting a painting over and over again to “get it right". There are no more “rights” only forks of possibility.

A memory can be shaded by any number of events. One moment you can look back at your childhood with warmth and happiness but at the next that same memory can be seen as bitter and depressing. Objectively, there is only one memory--one reality. Subjectively, however, one memory can be glitched multiple times. With each fork showing that different moment of remembrance.

Therefore the representations are more about the remembrance of the memory rather than the memory itself. Hence the glitch. The corrupted data of the real moment merged with the feelings that currently shade that memory.

But what then is a glitch in this context?

Initially a glitch was meant as an unintended happening in a program or file. A corrupt image would show errors while being viewed--often along the lines of the color channels being shifted, rows off center, etc. However once people began to notice these glitches and then found them aesthetically pleasing the process in which these glitches could occur was documented and further explored.

Glitches in the original context were then rendered extinct and the rise of glitching as technique became commonplace. No different from scumbling, glazing, etc. Only that this still retains the wizard hat magic of computer mystery.

Since a glitch is rendered as a technique that resembles an unintended happening and/or corruption within the data of the work any and all techniques that render such effects can and should be considered a glitch. And if the work is representing a remembrance then those glitches can be anything from redaction to a completed cut up assembly phase shifted psychotropic nightmare.

The work can be layered. From initial documentation to glitch to channel separation etc. Or from a drawing or other representation to photo to whatever.

The recognition here is that whatever the memory is the remembrance starts with the purest representation of it and then proceeds from there until the remembrance is successfully rendered at that moment in time. Later it can be forked and versioned but each version should be completed in one session so that the remembrance is successfully executed. Any delay or interruption in the work will result in an altered remembrance of the initial remembrance if that work is resumed and thus cause that work to fail in it's goals.

The gloves must come off. Nothing is sacred and no technique is off the table. Paint your memories, scan them in, add some type and bend the data, print them out, transfer them back onto canvas, paint over them and the photograph the result. Version it, fork it and clone it. Let the world see it and make your remembrance their memory.

Glitching and Memory

Leif Rogers - , Text

Plainfield, Illinois