I have been playing around a bit with the Glitch Lab app , which I learned about from my good buddy Rob Townsend. Part of my research and experimentation for my BoW is a consideration of fragmentation and discrete entities and how to portray the unhomely – unheimlich – at home.
The Glitch aesthetic and ideas behind it fit well with hauntology, with its uneasy blurring of presence and absence and the interplay of past, present and future. The sense of time being stopped and then speeded up, the futuristic appearance of some of the images – whilst being eerily reminiscent of 70s, 80s, or 90s imagery and production values – and the liminality, are all very appealing within my practice. One of the characteristics of Glitch is “almost, not quite” which echoes my default setting unless I am feeling unusually carefree and light or am having an ‘everything is f*****’ day.
There are some fascinating ideas in these notes, which constitute a manifesto, from Hugh S Manon and Daniel Temkin. They highlight the counterintuitive aspect of our understanding of Glitch:
The existence of glitch-based representation depends upon the inability of software to treat a wrong bit of data in anything other than the right way. The word “glitch” in this sense does not solely represent the cause that initiates some failure, but also the output that results when improper data is decoded properly. An isolated problem is encountered and, rather than shutting down, the software prattles on. Stated differently, it is a given program’s failure to fully fail upon encountering bad data that allows a glitch to appear. The instigation of such defect-driven churning is the crux of the practice known as Glitch Art.
Their views on repetition piqued my interest too. I try to always be conscious of the fine line between creating some continuity within series of images and being dull. This adds another perspective:
Repetition can be disruptive, and in two very different ways. On the one hand, there is the violence of the battering ram, which gradually weakens the obstacle against which it hammers. On the other hand, there is the passive aggression of sequences, which, in some pointed or high-profile way, inertly refuse to vary. In this second sense, glitch practice takes place not on the order of desire, but on the order of pulsion, drive, and therein lies its radical potential.
The app has a range of presets and adjustments which I have not had chance to exhaustively explore but I am impressed with its capabilities and scope. The skill is in finding the right base image to work on. It is exciting to be able to turn a flower or garden hose into something so futuristic and the ‘square sort’ preset can result in apparently vast fantasy landscapes which have been very appealing from my quarantined perspective. The more eerie presets such as ‘game boy’, ‘vhs’ and ‘ghost band’ work with my hauntological investigations, whilst ‘dark light’ achieves the inverted light aesthetic and more painterly style which I am favouring currently. All in all, it is gimmicky and in some cases way too extreme. But it is providing another strand for visual exploration and is a really easy way to experiment. A key part of my investigation at the moment is how to create the strange within the familiar to follow the idea strand of exile (from the outside world and from the pre-Covid past) and I believe this app will be useful for that.
- http://worldpicturejournal.com/WP_6/Manon.html (accessed 19.7.20)
- Reynolds, S. (2011). Retromania : pop culture’s addiction to its own past. London New York: Faber & Faber.
- Fisher, M. (2016). The weird and the eerie. London New York: Repeater Books,Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc.
- https://www.wired.com/2014/10/wonderfully-twisted-photos-glitch-art-guru/ (accessed 13.9.20)