An artist working with electronics and electronic media, based in Brooklyn, NY

Projects

Update from the TextielLab in Tilburg, NL

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Day 4 @ TextielLab Textielmusuem Tilburg, NL

The palette is fixed and I’ve settled on my final design constraints and source material.  For the next two working days in the lab, I’ll be weaving fragments from core memory dumps.  Raw binary data from my system RAM have been rendered into a 6-bit color-space with a total of 64 colors.  The data itself is a collection of fragments of files, images, sounds, temporary data and programs, a sketch of my activities assembled according to the obscure logic of my operating system.

Complete documentation of the process and resources will come in the following weeks.

After having my PC Laptop, camera, and audio recorder stolen on a train to Amsterdam, I am in debt to my dear friend Jeroen Holthuis for helping me write a program in Processing which performs variable bits per channel rendering of raw binary data in a similar fashion to Paul Kerchen’s LoomPreview. He has also been kind enough to loan me his camera and host me for some of my time in the Netherlands. Many thanks!


[STEIM] Breadboard Based Modular Synthesizer System by Pete Edwards and Phillip Stearns

From May 1 through May 14th, Pete Edwards and Phillip Stearns have been working on developing an open platform for endless musical and electronic invention, exploration, and discovery from the bottom up or the top down. This system is based on minimizing the differences in the input and output “languages” used in various musical electronic formats. This means finding a way to allow free communication between logic, analog and eventually digital electronics. We are working to achieve this by finding a middle ground between these mediums where signal format and amplitude can be shared freely with minimal need for translators and adaptors. Our proof of concept models have shown that unhindered communication between binary logic and variable analog systems renders wildly adventurous possibilities and a unique musical character.

The form factor ethos is one where our passion for invention and performance are given equal attention. The key to achieving this goal is designing a hardware system with maximal scalability of size, quality and hardware format. Thus allowing the experimenter to quickly and cheaply connect circuit boards with simple jumper wires. Meanwhile the traveling musician may prefer to adapt their system to be held in a rugged housing with large format control hardware. This is effectively achieved by adopting a standard layout for a set of core modules which can be built up to the appropriate scale using a series of shields and pluggable add ons.

After a series of discussion on what such a system might look like and how to establish a standard that could be as flexible as possible, allowing for the nesting of micro and macro elements, we began prototyping modules and stackable hardware interfaces.

Project documentation is still underway, with schematics for the prototypes still in development, however, we have, after only two weeks, produced a functional system that fulfills many of our goals including portability, quick system (re)configuration, open patchable interconnection architecture, and stable breadboard compatible form factor with the potential for stackable shields and interfaces.

Future plans discussed for the project include the development of VCO, VCA, and VCF modules that operate on 5 volts, releasing schematics and system specifications to the public, production of low profile breadboard compatible modules in kit and pre-fabricated form with options for either through hole or smd components.

A video demonstrating the 4000 series CMOS logic based modules can be viewed here.

The Module Prototypes:

Prototype of The Shifter module.

The Shifter – A dual 4-bit serial in parallel out (SIPO) shift register (CD4015) is connected as a single 8-bit SIPO shift register. Two 1 of 8 digitally addressable analog switches control two feedback taps which allow for each of the shift registers 8 outputs to be fedback to the register input. Input to the register is the output of four cascaded dual input XOR gates (CD4070) for a total of 5 possible inputs. The first two inputs are provided by the 1 of 8 switches, the third and fourth inputs are labeled as “mod” inputs for patching of any logic level signal, and the fifth input is connected to a “seed” button located on the lower left corner of the module. A logic level signal on the clock input will shift, or advance, the register once every positive going edge transition. Setting the feedback taps to the same state will fill the register with logic 0 each positive edge transition of the clock input. The register may need to be jump started by pressing the “seed” occasionally in the event that all outputs go low (lock up condition). The edge connector and header row provides connections for ground, power (3-18V), address and inhibit control inputs for each of the 1 of 8 switches, “mod” inputs, 8 parallel outputs of the register, and output from three of the XOR gates (1 = both feedback taps XORed, 2 = the second tap and “mod” inputs XORed, 3 = “mod” inputs XORed).

Prototype of the Divide by 2 by 2 by 2… module.

Divide by 2 by 2 by 2…- A single 12-bit binary counter (CD4040) takes a logic level signal and provides 12 sub-octaves, each available as patch points on the header on the left side of the module. Additionally, three 1 of 8 digitally addressable analog switches (CD4051) provide independent selection of the first 8 sub-octaves generated by the binary counter. The header row along the bottom provides connections for ground, power (3-18V DC), counter clock input, counter reset, address lines and inhibit control inputs for each of the three 1 of 8 switches, and the final four output stages of the binary counter.

Prototype of the Divide by 3-10 module.

Divide by 3-10 - This module divides a logic level signal frequency by integers 3 through 10. A 1 of 8 digitally addressable analog switch allows for the selection of the factor of division. A divide by 2 through 10 counter (CD4018) operates on feedback to establish the division factor and is used in conjunction with a quad 2-input AND gate (CD4081). The header row and connector provide connections for ground, power (3-18V DC), counter clock input, address lines and inhibit control inputs for the 1 of 8 switch, and the sub harmonic output.

Prototype of the Rhythm Brain module.

Rhythm Brain – Three binary rate multipliers (CD4089) share a common clock input and output pulses that are multiples 0-15 of 1/16th the logic level signal on the clock input. All chips share a common “set to 15″ input, which globally resets the pattern. Each chip has independent 4-bit addressable rate multiplication and inhibit controls. The edge connector and header row provide connections for ground, power (3-18V), 3 independent 4-bit address selection of rate multiplication and inhibit controls, and individual output for each chip. An additional set of outputs provide the compliment of the individual outputs on the header on the right side of the module.

Prototype of the 3-bit Digitizer module.

3bit Digitizer – An incoming analog voltage is digitized and quantized in real-time at 3-bit resolution. Two quad opamps (TL074) are used as comparators connected to a resistor network which sets 8 thresholds at equal intervals from 0v to the Voltage supply level. An 8-bit priority encoder (CD4532) is used to convert the comparator outputs to 3-bits. The edge connector and header row provide connections for ground, power (3-18V), 3-bit output in order LSB to MSB, enable output, gate select output, and the 8 outputs of the comparators.

 


Binary Blankets Announced!

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A whole new collection of blanket designs is now available!

Binary Blankets is a series of blankets aimed at making visible the hidden data structures that give shape to everyday life. The materiality of our digital age is composed of binary data encoded on electronic devices and transmitted through the airwaves on invisible frequencies of light. As an alternative to the screen, Binary Blankets literally gives you a way to experience the fabric of this otherwise invisible and intangible side of our digital world.

This initial collection of 18 designs features raw binary data sourced from a handful of files and programs such as Microsoft Word, iTunes, Google Chrome, and Mac OSX.


2012: A Year in Review

Year of the Glitch – Dither Animation Study No. 3

It’s 2013 and 2012 is history. Don’t know about the rest of you, but this last year was a rush. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I will give a quick recap of the major projects and performances of the year.

But before we go down that rabbit hole, I thought I’d mention some things coming up In the immediate future: I’ll be performing at the newly reminted Silent Barn (Jan 11 in Brooklyn, NY) and also at Transmediale (Berlin). At Transmediale, I’ll also be working with Benjamin Gaulon on his DeFunct/ReFunct project with Karl Klomp, Gijs Gieskes, Tom Verbruggen, and Pete Edwards. Afterwards, I’ll be doing a residency at Alfred University working on the visuals for a collaboration with Aimee Norwich.

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Landscape (Abstract in Neon) installed at the NYC Industries for the Blind

Projects of 2012:

Year of the Glitch – A yearlong glitch-a-day project featuring the products of my formal and technical exploration of glitch art. 450+ posts and 42,000+ Followers

Glitch Textiles – Glitches in the cold, hard logic of digital circuits transformed into warm blankets, textiles, rugs, and more.

Moleskine Phase – Commissioned work for Moleskine Portraits event at Exit Art NY

Deluge – a sound and light installation that depicts the white noise of unoccupied radio frequencies as a showering rain of light. Exhibited at Transmittal (Free103Point9), Greene Country Council on the Arts, Catskill, NY.

Impact Study No. 1 – A neon light installation that visualizes environmental radioactivity. Exhibited at Lumen, COAHSI, Staten Island, NY

Listening to the Ocean on a Shore of Gypsum Sand – Algorithmically generated, 3D printed shells. Collaboration with Gene Kogan and Dan Tesene. Exhibited at Soundwalk 2012, Long Beach, CA.

Landscape (Abstract in Neon) – Exhibited at “The Sixth Sense and Other Myths” (Art Connects NY + Big Deal Arts), NYC Industries for the Blind, Borough Park, Brooklyn, NY.

Aura(l) Study No. 1 – A site-specific installation for InLight Richmond

Protochiptunes: Hyperarpeggiator – A project that uses simple digital logic microchips in surprisingly musical ways. Performances at 3rd Ward and Shea Stadium, Brooklyn, NY.

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Performing Fluorescene – image courtesy: Eastern Bloc MTL

Major Perfomances:

Interferences – IEA Residency (Alfred University – Alfred, NY), Investigate: No-Input Mixer Summit (Harvestworks and Issue Project Room – NY, NY)

Fluorescene – IEA Residency (Alfred University – Alfred, NY), Sight and Sound (Eastern Bloc – Montreal, QC, CA), Hack Queensday (STEIM – Amsterdam, Netherlands), On Site (Taiwan Artist Village – Taipei, Taiwan), Ende Tymes (Outpost – Ridgewood, NY).

Apeiron | Peras – Sight and Sound (Eastern Bloc – Montreal, QC, CA)

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Releases:

Macular Degeneration (Nadalex) – 5.1 Surround Sound composition created at Harvestworks in 2010.


All New Glitch Textiles Available for Purchase

Loads of new Glitch Textiles designs just arrived as machine knit Glitch Blankets. These and all other Glitch Textiles are available for purchase again. Just in time for winter! $300 for 40×60″ knit blankets, $400 for 53×71″Jacquard woven blankets, and $250 for 36×24″ wall hangings. Simply head over to the Glitch Textiles project page, click on the design you’d wish to purchase, and click on the “Buy Now” link.


Knit Glitch Blankets Just Arrived

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I’m very excited to announce that a fresh batch of all new machine knit Glitch Blankets for the Glitch Textiles project just arrived!  I’ve developed a dozen new designs and am in the process of photographing them all.  For the time being, enjoy the slideshow featuring photos of a handful of the new blanket designs offered as Kickstarter rewards (link).

These will become available for purchase starting November 1, 2012.  Stay Tuned!


3D Printed Seashells

Listening to the Ocean on a Shore of Gypsum Sand is a collaborative project between Gene Kogan, Phillip Stearns, and Dan Tesene. Seashells are 3d printed from algorithmically generated forms for the sole purpose of listening to the “ocean”. The project questions the role of experience in the mediation of the virtual world to the real world and visa versa.

For those of us who have had the experience of listening to the sound of the ocean in actual seashells, it is a questions of lived experience shaping an approach, not only to the object (or world) at hand, but how it is perceived and acted upon.  Are we to trust these shells?  Do we seek out natural shells for comparison?

To those for whom their first experience of listening to the “ocean” through the digitally produced shell, the question becomes one of how the first encounter with a virtualized and simulated reality shapes the experience of lived space.  This virtual shell is all I know of the real, until I encounter those found in nature—and when I see this natural shell, what then is my experience of?  More broadly, how does mediated reality form our preconceptions of the world?

For some, these questions seem obvious—we may even have convinced ourselves that we have this all figured out.  We are aware of the possibility that the virtual world and real world are two interacting identities, distinct ideas that maintain their individuality despite their mutual influence on one another.  There is, however, a possibility that this distinction is fading with younger generations, as technologically mediated experiences permeate childhood.  I wonder about the effect of this as they grown into the world.

This project will be on view at Soundwalk 2012, a sound art festival in Long Beach, CA on September 1st 6-10pm.


Announcing Glitch Tapestries



Glitch Tapestries: Year of the Glitch Edition

Three all new weavings just came back from the mill: 36″ x 24″ tapestries.  Source images came from camera glitches featured in the Year of the Glitch posts 211, 198, and 192.

I’m offering these as rewards on the Glitch Textiles kickstarter campaign at the $225 level.


Inside the FujiFilm FinePix s9000

I was approached by Adam Ferriss, a Los Angeles based artist (check out his tumblr!), about some tips and tricks for circuit bending digital cameras.  His work with algorithmic image processing produces images that bear a striking resemblance to those produced by my prepared digital cameras.  The photography lab he runs at a college in LA was downsizing their inventory and getting rid of some antiquated FujiFilm FinePix s9000 cameras, and rather than throw them out, Adam decided to hang on to the lot and experiment with circuit bending them.

These things are beasts: fixed zoom point and shoot cameras with the look and feel of a DLSR but without any of the manual controls and flexibility.  No wonder they were getting rid of these things!

In exchange for  a couple of the less functional cameras, I agreed to help Adam by documenting my deconstruction process.  Bonus for you since, now I’m publishing the documentation for public consumption.

Disclaimer: If you’re going to attempt to prepare/modify/circuit bend/disassemble any electronic device, be aware that you are placing yourself at risk of serious injury or death from electric shock; electronic devices may be irreversibly damaged or destroyed (for what it’s worth, it goes without saying that all warranties will be void); if any loss of property or injury occurs, it will be solely your responsibility.

Getting Started:

Before opening up the camera, there are a few items we need to have on hand.

  • Precision Screwdrivers
  • Spare batteries or external power supply (the s9000 uses a 5V supply or 4x AA batteries)
  • A bag or containers to place screws and other bits in
  • A note book and camera for documenting
  • Anti-static wrist band

You’ll also need to do the following to prepare your camera.

  • Remove batteries
  • Remove the memory card(s)
  • Put on and ground the anti static wristband

Now we can begin.

Removing the Screws:

Remove all exterior screws.  Like all devices, there are screws in places you wouldn’t think to look.  Start with the bottoms, then move to the sides, open all compartments and look for those hidden ones.

remove the bottom screws

remove screws hidden in the flash assembly

Once these are out of the way, you should be able to remove the assembly with the shutter release button and the power and other operation mode switches.  Be careful not to pull too hard, like I did, and pull the ribbon connector out of its socket.  Fortunately, mine didn’t tear, but you may not be so lucky!

removing the shutter release assembly

There are still a few screws to be removed before you can open the back panel of the camera.  Both of these were revealed by removing the shutter release assembly.  One is right next to the strap loop, and the other is just below the flash assembly.

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screw next to flash fitting

With these two screws out of the way, you should be able to gently coax the back panel off until you encounter some resistance from a couple of pairs of wires. The red and black wires running from the hot shoe attach to a board on the main body via a connector. There’s a speaker on two black wires that attaches to another part of the circuit board via a similar connector. Disconnect these two and the back panel should open like an oven door.

the speaker and hot shoe wires and connectors

wohoo! we’re in!

Now that we’ve partially disassembled the camera, and exposed some nice looking innards, we need to figure out if it still works. You can either use the AA batteries or a 5V power supply with a 4.0mm x 1.7mm connector. I used to do a lot of testing for Voltaic Systems and have one of their solar rechargeable V60 batteries around for powering my small electronics projects. Make sure that the main ribbon connectors from the back panel and the shutter release assembly are in place (the speaker and hot shoe wires don’t matter), then power up your camera and turn it on. (hint: check that the battery and memory card doors are closed!)

Yay it works!

What’s Inside: Poking About

Now that we have the camera partially disassembled and still working, we can have a look at some of the components inside to see where a good place to start bending would be. Upon first glance, you’ll notice that all the parts are SUPER tiny smd. This is quite a let down, but exactly what you can expect with more contemporary devices. In fact, if you’re opening up cameras released today, you’ll probably find that most all the connections on the integrated circuits are actually underneath the chips and not via pins as with older style ICs!

So what can we mess with? There’s an Analog Devices chip (AD9996) that I can’t seem to locate the datasheet for. There’s something similar to it, the AD9995, which is a 12-bit CCD signal processor. You’ll notice too that there’s a thick connector with lots of contacts. This is the CCD connection (go figure it’s so close to the signal processor).

The AD9996 12 bit CCD signal processor is in the center with the CCD connector directly below.

I actually went a few steps further in deconstructing this camera and found that further disassembling made the system unstable. So, for now, you shouldn’t have to take the camera apart any further to tweek its brains.

How do I mess with it?

Since the pins and connections on this board are so tiny, I am hesitant to solder anything to it. One technique I always go to first is using a saliva moistened finger to poke the sensitive parts and see if anything happens. For capturing, you have two choices: movie or still. You can set the quality settings however you like. If you haven’t already inserted a memory card, now would be a good time.

Other strategies for altering the image is to use a small probe to short circuit adjacent pins on the CCD connector. I found that the right hand side of the connector worked best, and that the series of little smd ICs to the left of the AD9996 gave similar results. When I get in there with a soldering iron to draw out some of those points, I’ll be starting with the ICs and using very fine magnet wire.

So here are a few preliminary images.

I’ll be sharing more of my findings on my year-long glitch-a-day project,Year of the Glitch.


DCP Series Update

An animation created using a collection of still produced during a session of circuit bending a Kodak DC215 1 megapixel digital camera.

Just uploaded 100+ new images to the DCP Series. This series is still well underway and is branching out into other cameras. Updates to the Olympus PIC series will be ready soon.

Be sure to check out the new additions to the Glitch Textiles project as well. There are currently nine blankets in the collection so far, each featuring a pattern woven directly from an image generated with the prepared cameras of the DCP Series and Year of the Glitch project.


Update: Lumen 2012

 

Last weekend I participated in LUMEN 2012, a light art festival which took place this year at the Atlantic Salt Co. on Staten Island.  Yes, it is a uniquely Staten Island event and experience, and quite possibly the most diverse and simultaneously cohesive show I take part in.  The crowd ranges from Williamsburg hipsters to Staten Island families, and the art represents every discipline from action painting, performance, video, audio-visual and more abstract light based forms (projections into clouds of smoke!).

My contribution to the event was a simplified version of a project I submitted to BAM’s Public Art Project towards the end of last year.  You can find video documentation of Impact Study No. 1 here.


Transmittal

"Relay" by Max Goldfarb

“free103point9 hosts, “Transmittal,” a transmission arts exhibition of local New York artists and international radio artists, in Catskill, New York this spring. “Transmittal” is curated by Galen Joseph-Hunter, free103point9’s Executive Director and author of “Transmission Arts: Artists and Airwaves” (PAJ Publications: 2011.) Works include video, sound, radio, installation, performance, and work-on-paper. An opening for “Transmittal” will be held Saturday, April 28 from 5-7 p.m., and the exhibition is open from Apr. 27 through June 1 at the Greene County Council on the Arts Gallery at 398 Main St. in Catskill.” – free103point9.org

"Deluge" by Phillip Stearns

I’ll be showing Deluge, a light and sound sculpture consists of 35 hand made modules, each containing a transistor receiver that generates white noise, an amplifier w/ speaker, and 12 LEDs.  Static from a broad spectrum of unused radio frequencies is gently amplified through a small speaker, and visualized by a string of LEDs.  Together the cloud of individual modules create the impression of rain.


Glitch Textiles Update: Available At Eyebeam + New Arrivals

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Glitch Textiles are now available at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center’s Bookstore. They’re selling at a 25% discount from my online store prices.

Plus, three new blankets just arrived! The images DCP 02802 and DCP 02803 are from Year of the Glitch post #66 from March 7th.  The third was created from an image made with a prepared Olympus C-840L digital camera, a gift from artist notendo (Jeff Donaldson).


Deluge in Progress

Currently wrapping up construction of Deluge. This project will be exhibited as part of the Transmittal group show curated by Galen Joseph-Hunter for Free103Point9 at Greene County Council on the Arts Gallery in Catskill, NY. Opening is April 28th, 2012 at 5-7pm.


Artists Wanted – Entry

Phillip Stearns. Click “Collect Me” to help me win $10,000 and a show in the most immense exhibition of art in New York City : Art Takes Times Square.


Solar Buddha Machine – Voltaic Systems

For those of you who don’t already know about the FM3 Buddha Machine, here’s the scoop:

The Buddha Machine is a small plastic box that plays meditative music composed by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian. (source: fm3buddhamachine.com/)

The device is inspired by electronic prayer boxes, popular in China, that play back looped recordings of Buddhist prayers. Instead of prayers, the Buddha Machine plays back various ambient music loops. The duo behind FM3 have even enlisted artists to contribute material for special editions, as in the Gristleism, developed by the industrial group, Throbbing Gristle, securing the device’s status as an alternative distribution format.

I documented and posted my modification to enable the Buddha Machine I to not only run from solar, but to charge NiMH AA batteries. It’s super simple! Check out my Solar Buddha Machine post on Voltaic System’s blog.


Cameras of Year of the Glitch

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Images and information about three cameras used in recent Year of the Glitch posts and the DCP Series are now public.  The Kodak DC280, DC215, and DC200/210, have played a key role in my exploration of hardware and software based image generation/corruption.  In the near future, these pages will be updated with more detailed information about specific techniques and circuits involved in creating the variety of images found in both the YOTG project and DCP Series.

Cameras Featured


Kodak DC 280

Kodak DC 200/210

Kodak DC 215

New Glitch Textiles

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Two new additions to the Glitch Textiles series just arrived, are pictured above. To celebrate Leap Day, I’ve created a store where they can be purchased directly from me.

Going forward, I’ll be looking into patterning some textiles from my own Dither Study series of works inspired by Daniel Temkin’s Dither Studies and featured on Year of the Glitch. If you’re not already following Year of the Glitch, do so today! The project is only 4 followers shy of 1000 and it would be really awesome to make the 1000 follower milestone on Leap Day.


Gallery

Glitch Textiles

Experimenting with making woven blankets out of images from Year of the Glitch.  Here are some photos of tests.  #32 is featured in there!

There are 4 blankets in this collection.  The first four images are two blankets made with a mechanized knitting process.  The last two images are two different blankets made using a Jacquard loom.

More on Glitch Textiles.


SOPA and PIPA Protests: Photos

Protesters outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand

Protesters outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand

[ Images from the Protest against PIPA and SOPA in NYC]

On Thursday January 18th, a crowd of roughly 2400 people amassed before the offices of NY Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in protest of the PROTECT IP Act (AKA PIPA, the Senate version of SOPA). The protests were organized by The New York Tech Meetup, a community that gathers monthly, where 9 or 10 companies get 3 to 5 minutes each to demo something cool to New York’s tech community (geeks, investors, entrepreneurs, hackers, etc).

The two controversial bills, SOPA and PIPA, seek to eliminate internet piracy, but technologists are opposed to them on the grounds that certain provisions within will enable corporate interests to require search engines and other sites to effectively censor content.  Additional concerns regarding the cost of monitoring content, to comply with regulations proposed in the bills, are a major factor contributing to the broad opposition coming from technology startups and tech workers.


Year of the Glitch: A 366 Day Project for 2012

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“56. 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 ” — Hugh S. Manon and Daniel Temkin, “Notes on Glitch”

Year of the Glitch is a 366 day project aimed at exploring various manifestations of glitches (intentional and unintentional) produced by electronic systems.

Each day will bring a new image, video or sound file from a range of sources: prepared digital cameras, video capture devices, electronic displays, scanners, manipulated or corrupted files, skipping CDs, disrupted digital transmissions, etc.

These images are not of broken things, but the unlocking of other worlds latent in the technologies with which we surround ourselves.


DCP Series as Textile Art – Glitch Textiles

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On Vision Machines:

We are surrounded by digital images. The digital camera is the reigning tool of inscription of our time. We frame, capture, edit, enhance, upload/download, re-imagine and re-shape our world by the digital image. The window, the frame, the stage, the screen, and the monitor are, today, superfluous objects marking a historical trajectory: of vision and its transparent boundaries—our minds have been conditioned to see the world as a flat glowing plane filled with images, the world seen through a lens, beamed directly to the retinas.

The Glitch is a signifier, a flag, indicating the interruption of this flow of data underscoring daily routines.

The End of Photography?

There is still a question as to the legitimacy of the digital image in the realm of photography, at least in my mind. The knowledge, skill, and craft that goes into the photochemical images produced by pre-digital photography is perhaps mirrored in the digital domain through the utilization of algorithms and processing tricks; however, it’s clear the cultures of both practices are vastly different. There is no need to lament, simply to observe that the hand has been supplanted by the algorithm, by mathematics. The great benefit is now that the image is free of a definite physical manifestation (the negative), it can be mapped onto any surface and manifest myriad physical forms.

The print no longer holds the power it once did. It is seen merely as a fixed (and rather boring) screen. The best an artist can hope for is to create ambiguity which holds attention for more than a single glance. If we are lucky, a second glance, but a considered gaze is a rarity.

Everything is being digitized and presented on a glowing screen, smudged by greasy fingers. That doesn’t prevent us from using film, from continuing to learn from the practice of pre-digital photographic techniques. Although now the effects can be reproduced using a clever combination of digital filters, perhaps the difference is that we still have not found the right equations to capture the individual nuances of expression, the hand.

Though I do not have a preference for analog works over digital works (each is equally problematic), I can see the appeal of the former from the traditionalist’s perspective: the hand of the artist is evidenced, remains as the invisible referent. Beyond the image acting as an arrow pointing inwards through the lens to the person standing behind the camera, there is still something of Walter Benjamin’s idea of the “essence” of the creator embedded within the object as a consequence of its making.

The Digital Dark Age

We are still in the digital dark age, groping around for something new, beyond the scope of re-combination. Digital technologies offer a new way of formalizing information, one that is directly amenable to mathematics, and yet common knowledge of mathematics has not progressed much (one may say that it has been in retrograde). The dependence upon mathematics for innovation in the digital era requires us to out think mathematics in a system where mathematics is the absolute rule. Over-formalization of the problem is in essence part of the problem. Mathematics is but a veil which glosses over complexities until they can be resolved, and as they are, the veil becomes increasingly transparent and revealing, yet it will always fail in striving to become the object it enshrouds.

Everything up until now has been the reproduction of old forms within the digital domain. We are no longer surrounded by an array of specialized electronic objects; the computer is everywhere and not even a phone is a simply a phone anymore but also a camera, a calculator, a planner, an entertainment center. It has only been a matter of formalizing and encoding behavior. Software may be that new site of innovation, and there is strong evidence that we do have some very compelling and truly new software, but the barriers of its underlying system are still to be overcome.

Re-thinking Noise

Glitch Art has popularized the surface features of algorithmic interpretations of what a system designer would typically call noise, interference. There remains the issue of output. If a file format is corrupted, how is it to be presented? A disc image can easily be played back as audio, the zeros and ones translated directly into the force pushing a speaker cone, setting the air in motion. Does the image necessitate output on a screen, or a print? To weave a tapestry of a fragmented image allows us to do literally what we are doing symbolically: wrapping ourselves in images, accepting the faults of technology as an integrated part of day-to-day life. Whatever the forms may symbolize, the respect of file formats is preserved and an image becomes another image mapped to an object, a mosaic. What would it look like opened into a 3D modeling environment? Could these forms be constructed?

Are we approaching the moment of a new line of thinking in architecture? Could Glitch escape the realm of surfaces and obtain real depth? As an architectural manifesto, Glitch could provide a new way of approaching behavioral design through scripted space by throwing away the script altogether.


Interpolation Studies

A pixel level study of RAW format interpolation algorithms on noise introduced by manually short circuiting a digital camera. Specific models used in this group of images include the Canon G5 and Canon EOS Digital Rebel.


Prepared Olympus C-840L

A collection of images generated using a prepared Olympus C-840L 1.3 MP digital camera. The camera was a gift from Jeff Donaldson, purchase in Japan for 300 Yen ($3 USD).


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