Glitch it Good

In her article, Mallika Roy discusses the emergence of the glitch art phenomenon and how it relates to our culture. She conveniently summaries the different ways of producing glitch art. These include:

  • circuit-bending - retiring or altering the circuit in a device.

  • data-bending - opening files in a program which was designed for another file type.

  • data-moshing - intentionally losing data through file compression.

  • Z-fighting - weaving multiple layers together to create on layer.

I tried out a number of these different techniques. Some were more successful than others, depending on the file type being used. 

Roy (2014) explains that glitch art’s roots can be traced back to Dadaism and punk.  These ideologies suit the deliberate corruption of materials.   


Roy, M (2014) Glitch it Good: Understanding the Glitch Art Movement. The Periphery Dec 2014 [Accessed 26/10/18]


The Pencil of Error

Since glitch art relies on nonhuman errors being made, the case for authorship can be difficult to prove. In her abstract, Pasek (2017: 37) argues that:

  artists and theorists may need to relinquish a defence of the role of the artists...

Ever since it’s infancy, photography has struggled to define whether it is art, and now it is at odds with itself about whether digital photography can be compared to its analog predecessor. However, Pasek (2017) attempts to align the two due to their ‘black box’ methods of production. Whilst the analog photograph is the product of the magical chemical processes of the darkroom, the digital image is conjured up on a screen following a series of algorithms. Therefore, in both analog and digital methodologies, part of the creative process is out of the influence of the ‘artist’. 

In an attempt to rectify this situation, Pasek (2017: 37) presents a case for a post-liquid intelligence, arguing that:  

  artists and theorists may need to relinquish a defence of the role of the artist. 

Using Jeff Wall’s ‘Milk’ (below) as an example, Pasek (2017) illustrates how the digitising of an analog image alters its state. Whilst the original hangs in MoMA, there are many iterations of the photograph on the Internet. By being digitised, the very architecture of the image has been altered, possibly creating an alternative photograph. In some ways it depends on how we interrogate an image. Is it at face value, or is it about the process itself? 

On reflection, I find it interesting that Pasek has chosen one of Jeff Wall’s images to illustrate her point, especially when he is an acclaimed photographer, who is best known for staged photography.  The brick background reinforces the static nature of the image, whilst the exploding milk appears out of place in the scene. 

Pasek (2017: 49) attempts to realign the Photographic process by stating that: not wholly the photographer, it is also a curious dynamism between dry and wet intelligences.  

Instead of attempting to define itself as art, or who or what is responsible for the resulting image, photography needs to accept itself for what it is. Photography! 



Pasek, A. Photography and Culture. Vol. 10 - Issue 1 March 2017 pp.37 - 52


Milk, by Jeff Wall (1984)

Milk, by Jeff Wall (1984)

Sabato Visconti

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Sabato Visconti is a Brazilian photographer, glitch artist and illustrator. When I began researching glitch art, he was the first practitioner I came across.  Sabato Visconti uses glitch processes and other practices that have been sourced with non-photographic media, such as catalog clippings, classic video games, literary texts, 3D Models, Film Stills, Paintings, and Vector graphics.

Both his backgrounds of illustration and photograph enable him to produce abstract digital images which are full of texture, intense colours, and rhythmic patterns.

More of his work can be viewed here.