A Wild Glitch Appeared! These 8 Artists Are Bringing Glitch Art into the Real World
Meet the makers currently hacking the planet with physically-manifested glitches.
Hello Kitty and My Melody Glitch Items at Isetan Event for New Trends. (C)1976, 1988, 2014 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. S551307
Our gadgets are far from perfect, and their flaws are often revealed in the form of chaotic and mesmerizing glitches. Borne of the technological age, the untamable and erratic glitch lends its aesthetic to a wave of creative interpretations. Artists harness these found mistakes into flex dance perfomances, abstract iPhone art, and disappearing landscapes. But what if you remove the glitch from its place at home in the digital realm, and brought it into real life? These creators are extracting beautiful, corrupted data and re-bugging it in the physical world:
1. Digital Dress
Earlier this year, glitch artists Ucnv and Nukeme (the latter who moonlights as a sewing machine hacker) were featured at Isetan Shinjuku's Tokyo Kaihouku's store as part of a digital design exhibition, Glitch. Working with several other artists and designers, Ucnv and Nukeme blended glitch and fashion with wearable and stylish designs. “With advances in technology, methods of expression have also become more progressive," a representative of the event was quoted saying. "Glitch is one of such methods, and we wanted to introduce artists embodying this expression. It was by accident that Nukeme came to know the beauty of glitch. And he saw how it could be used in fashion. We want to showcase a new type of fashion."
2. Pixelated Pillows and Blankets
The ancient art of textile manufacturing has been digitally remastered by glitch artists Phillip Stearns and Benjamin Berg (a.k.a., Stallio). By pairing Stearns’ video-based glitch blankets and rugs with glitch throw pillows and mugs by Berg, your bedroom can be transformed into a pixelated haven. During a studio tour last year, Stearns told us that his process was a closed loop: "Conceptually, I’m hacking the brains of the cameras [used to make the patterns]—and they’re producing imagery that effectively hacks our brains."
3. Analog Armories
Ferrucio Laviani's designs for Fratelli Boffi stretch and bend the boundaries of interior design with "glitchy" furniture for a product series called Good Vibrations. In an interview with Sight Unseen, Laviani speaks of his inspiration to warp his Neo-Renaissance designs, stating, "I wanted to join these two ideas that seem to fight against one another: The quality of the craftsmanship and the low-quality image distortion. When you join these two things that are so opposite, it's interesting and funny."
4. Malfunctioning Music
Thanks to audiovisual artists like Dane Carney (aka Enad Yenrac), glitch art can transcend the visual realm and enter the world of sound. Carney creates sonic compositions of glitchy glory through a unique process he deems “planar shifting,” which involves taking corrupted data, converting it into sound, and then supplementing the ambient results with vibrant glitch GIFs.
5. Undead Data
What’s scarier than a white-eyed zombie, freshly raised from the grave? 3D printing failures, that’s what. By applying glitch techniques to their 3D design files, the visual effects team at avisVFX have shaped the creepy, deformed Doctor Who villains, “The Boneless,” as harmless—but still horrifying—plastic figurines.
6. Coded Cards
These glitched-out playing cards designed by Soleil Zumbrunn remind players us of the real life-glitching effects of sleight-of-hand. To create them, Zumbrunn first physically cuts the cards, rearranges them, adds and subtracts different pieces of the image from each card, and then, using Adobe Illustrator, digitally smooths out the changes. Zumbrunn states in her bio that she believes, "People are capable of solving problems themselves"—including the once strictly electronic nature of the glitch.
7. Distorted Scarves
Using handwoven polyester, cotton, and dye sublimation ink, artist Margo Wolowiec transfers distorted images onto textile canvases. “I am concerned with the slippages that occur when information is translated from one source to another, where meaning shifts and migrates, and data becomes malleable,” Wolowiec writes, in her artist's statement. “Whether fractured memories are materialized into sculptural form, information is embedded into threads of woven cloth, or woven cloth is unraveled and fragmented into multiple different forms, tangible spaces are created that allow for a deeper contemplation of our evolving landscapes of immateriality.”
8. Low-Poly Vases
In his series Digital Natives, artist Matthew Plummer-Fernandez reimagines glitches as fantastical kitchenware. He scans teapots, vases, and bowls and distorts their images using custom software, and then 3D prints them in colored resin, reconstructing abstract, polygonal objects that look like "new primordial forms that begin to resemble early human artefacts."
So whether you're hearing them, wearing them, or watching out that they don't reduce you down into two dimensions, glitches are no longer restricted to the realm of electronics—so next time you enter a room, make sure to check your code at the door.