CREDIT: A glitch with a Canon G5. Phillip Stearns.
Year of the Glitch is a 366 day project by Phillip Stearns collecting various instances of glitches, intentional or otherwise, produced by electronic systems – digital cameras, camcorders, electronic displays and scanners on the fritz, as well as manipulated or corrupted files. The project is part of the glitch art ‘movement’, which finds beauty in the blockiness and crystaline fragmention of digital errors.
On the Year of the Glitch site, the Brooklyn-based Stearns quotes from an essay by academic Hugh S. Manon and artist Daniel Temkin. ‘What makes good glitch art good is that, amidst a seemingly endless flood of images, it maintains a sense of the wilderness within the computer’. An interesting read, if words like ‘ontology’ and ‘liminal’ don’t make you feel dizzy.
According to Manon and Temkin, glitch art has important precursors such as Nam June Paik, John Cage, and Anni Albers, and proto-glitch artists include Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter. And yet, they argue, ‘glitch art was not born in any particular location or moment’. It was ‘discovered (and continues to be discovered) at a thousand points simultaneously. The nascent glitch artist is seduced by a chance encounter: one witnesses, perhaps for the first time, the momentary failure of a digitally transcoded text—a fractured JPEG image, for instance, or a compressed video file losing traction with itself. The error is perceived as provocative, strange and beautiful.’ What do you think? Provocative, strange and beautiful? Or time to get your camera repaired?