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Creativity Bytes: A Brief Guide To Datamoshing

Read this and sound like an expert. Well, sort of.

Paul B. Davis’ Compression Study #4 (barney)

Here’s a quick reference guide that will seek to explain the trends, terms, and movements of the brave new media world of art and technology. So you can skim, digest, and be a pseudo-expert next time you’re cornered at a Speed Show exhibition in your local cybercafe. Because, hey, life is short and art long. This week: Datamoshing.

So, what is datamoshing?
It’s a technique used to compress two videos together, removing keyframes from a file so the videos’ pixels “bleed” into one another.


Where did it come from?
It has been explored by artists and filmmakers like Takeshi Murata, Paper Rad, Kris Moyes, and Paul B. Davis, who use it in their work as a visual aesthetic. Its origins, usage, even its name have become somewhat controversial. Some claim that it’s a spanking-new innovation, others maintain that it’s an effect that’s been around for awhile and someone’s just come along and plonked the title “datamoshing” on it (Paul B. Davis calls it “compression aesthetics”).

Animator David O’Reilly used the effect back in 2005 in his video for Venetian Snares’ “Szamar Madar”, while artist Sven König used the technique in his aPpRoPiRaTe! project around the same time. Owi Mahn and Laura Baginski featured data compression in their video Pastell Kompressor back in 2003, so it’s been around since at least then.

This week you're really digging…
Paul B. Davis’ Compression Study #4 (barney)—starts off with a little kid climbing around and then it takes a turn for the trippy.

Papa Rad’s Umbrella Zombie Mistake

Nano talk
This is more of a history lesson as David O’Reilly has proclaimed datamoshing dead. And that was back in 2009. Blame Kanye West for taking it mainstream with “Welcome to Heartbreak” for the ruination of this short-lived trend. Nice one Kanye, nice one.

Describe yourself as…
A pixel bleeder.

Pixel, data, compression, glitch, frame, video.

Takeshi Murata’s Silver


Difficulty level

Age range

Datamoshing is dead. Long live datamoshing.

To recap: The brown acid was eaten. By the machines.

Next week: Machinima