Glitch Art in Theory and Practice


Betancourt (2017: 1 - 2) refers to the technical aspects of digital technology as:

pixelated images that re/compose reality as a juxtaposition of discrete fragments…

Rather than a continuous form, the digital realm consists of various errors and flaws which are waiting to appear. The digital image is fragile and susceptible to error. These blips in the high definition, mega-pixel displays can appear randomly with a number of varying possibilities. In Glitch Aesthetics, Iman Moradi (2004) categorised these errors as:

fragmentation, replication, and linearity.

Betancourt (2017: 6) continues by claiming that these glitches are an expected occurrence for users of digital technology. That these ‘flaws’ are:

transient surface flaws that rapidly vanish from both our screens and our consideration.

In other words, glitches are like the brush strokes in Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or lens flare from sunlight on film.

Despite Betancourt’s view, many photographers who have lost irreplaceable images, because of a corrupt memory card, will beg to differ. The very nature of the digital image makes it fragile and easily fractured.

Furthermore, when considering glitched images as art, the question remains as to who, or what, is the artist? The artist facilitates the glitch by using software and technology, but the final outcome is not predetermined. The glitch s a product of a random sequence of events.

Betancourt, M. (2017) Glitch Art in Theory and Practice: Critical Failures and Post-Digital Aesthetics

Moradi, I. Glitch Aesthetics BA dissertation, School of Design Technology, Department of Architecture, The University of Huddersfield, January 27, 2004) pp. 28-33.

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