Although Glitch movement is gaining a lot of popularity it is still something unknown or technically not reachable for those of who don’t have much knowledge on digital data compression techniques. In this blogpost I want to present some of the works of Benjamin Gaulon, a French media artist who produces what I would call a “Participatory Glitch Art” and who tries to encourage people to corrupt digital data and images.
First of all let’s define Glitch: a Glitch is an error, a defect in an electronic system that alters its normal function. One of the most famous ones are the video-games Glitches, but any small fault on a digital image or an interference on the radio signal is considered as such. This phenomenon is being appropriated by artists like Benjamin Gaulon, who works on issues around visual languages and digital technologies and who explores Glitch in an aesthetic context. Another well-known example is Rosa Menkman who in 2011 published her book The Glitch Moment(um).
In this sense, Benjamin Gaulon and Martial Geoffre-Rouland started in 2005 with the project Corrupt.Online, a data corruption software launched in 2005. The project was originated as a consequence of a previous software in which they had explored the notions of ownership and trash in the digital realm. In this case Corrupt.Online software allows users to upload corrupted images and share them in www.corrupt.recyclism.com. In 2011 they created the video version:Corrupt.Video. This software allows you to glitch videos stored in your computer, videos from you webcam as well as your desktop on real-time. Once it is recorded the 10 second video and an animated gift is automatically uploaded. The algorithm used -the same of Corrupt.Online- consists of a binary alteration or the original data, damaging thus the data on a binary level. Corrupt.Video is a good tool for the common user who wants to rship experiment with Glitch aesthetics but who doesn’t have a technical knowledge to do it on his/her own. It is also a great participatory art project that takes the best of our remix-culture but adding the Glitch perspective. Since the launch of the application in 2011 there is a channel www.uglitch.com in which all the uploads are available. As a result of this project they launched the full movie in 2013. The movie, a collection of hundreds of random glitched videos, lasts for 15h and is still growing.
Benjamin Gaulon is the founder of the website recyclism.com in which he experiments with multimedia installations (re)using “obsolete” electronic devices both digital and analogue. As written in his website, he explores unchallenged possibilities of obsolete electronic and digital media technologies and our relationship with them. Benjamin Gaulon has several projects concerning glitch aesthetics and technological obsolescence: for instance one of his last projects KindleGlitched consisted of corrupting electronic books, or Corrupt.desktop, a software designed to glitch your local Apple store. The especial thing about Benjamin Gaulon is that he involves the common user by encouraging him/her to experiment and participate with technology. His work wants to make the people understand the tools and what the tools are built for; to challenge the notion of how technology should function and our relation with it, to look into the boundaries of what is considered “normal” in the use of software. If you are still courious about some other projects have a look at his website.