Sunday, November 4, 2012

Interpretation and Meaning

                In my last scholarly post I focused on the origins and classification of glitch art, but here I want to expand more on the involved technical process.  The methods used to create glitch art can be categorized into three main headings; incorrect editing, reinterpretation and forced errors. [1]   The simplest and most user friendly method is incorrect editing.  Incorrect editing is as simple as opening an uncompressed image in a text-editor, changing a few characters here and there and saving it back out.  By doing this you are altering the definition of the image which yields unexpected results.  The complex code that makes up the image can be seen as a set of instructions telling the computer how to produce the image on your screen, and by altering this you are simply feeding the computer a new set of instructions. 

                Reinterpretation takes a file out of its original context and repurposes the data.  Have you ever thought about what an image sounds like or what your term paper would look like as an image?   This is the essence of reinterpretation, taking the data from  one purpose, an image, and say opening it as an mp3 instead.  The data itself is not altered but the result is unintentional and unpredictable.
                The final method of producing glitch art, forced errors, is the most complicated and unpredictable of the three methods.  Forcing errors upon files is often executed by exploiting known bugs within programs in hopes of corrupting the file.[1]  Like mentioned, this method is hard to control and is never entirely dependable. 

                In 2010 a five-day conference took place in Chicago appropriately titled GLI.TC/H.  The conference had many speakers, videos and presentation all focusing on glitch art.  Speaker Curt Cloniger stated "As texts make their way to us through digital intermediaries, these intermediaries in part determine their affect, which in part determines their meaning."[2]  Cloniger is arguing that data has no definite meaning as zeros and ones stored as binary data in a computer.  The data is given meaning by our technological devices that act as a decoder to decipher the cryptic language into a meaningful representation. 
                The debate that glitch art must be unintentional still remains open.  There are so many gray areas in creating glitch art that I don't see there ever being a conclusive answer.  When looking at the three methods; incorrect editing, reinterpretation and forced errors, each one has a level of controllability and erratic behavior.  If the purpose of glitch art is purely aesthetics then unintentional bugs may not be enough to fulfill that role.  Without some level of artistic control it is hard for the data to be interpreted with a different meaning outside of its sole intended purpose, whatever that may be. 

1.   Brizq, Nick. GLI.TC/H READER[ROR] 20111. Unsorted Books, 2011.         (accessed November 4,       2012).

2.   Geere, Duncan. Wired, "Glitch art created by 'databending'." Last modified 2010. Accessed   November 4,     2012.  databending.

-Andrew Foresman

1 comment:

  1. I think the whole method of reinterpretation is very interesting. I think it would be cool to see how it works. Are some of the things posted on this blog results of this process?