“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.
With the opening of the Algorithmic Unconscious group show at Devotion Gallery earlier this month, my interest in iterative video processing has been renewed as a method of exploring compression algorithms. You might be familiar with the technique, it was the same used for the epic Alvin Lucier inspired Video Room where YouTube user canzona uploads, downloads and re-uploads a video to youtube 1000 times. Where his work explores the impact of the compression schemes native to YouTube, the new video work above explores the motion JPEG-2000 compression algorithm.
The source video is a custom made 16 second loop cycling through the 8 fully saturated primary and secondary additive colors—black, red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta, white. In quicktime, the JPEG-2000 compression algorithm is chosen to export a .mov file of the lowest quality (smallest size). At this setting, the compression algorithm is repeatedly making decisions concerning what information is relevant or important while discarding the rest—up to 99% of the original data. The result is a considerably low quality reproduction of the original with visible data-compression artifacts. By applying a handful of filters to the compressed file and then re-compressing, data-compression artifacts are amplified. By repeating this iterative or recursive process hundreds of times, an effect similar to feedback is achieved where the visual output becomes degraded from the original and the artifacts take on a generative nature.
For this study, 193 iterations were time compressed to fit within a roughly 10 minute span. The video was then paired with audio from “Metamorphopsia”, a track from the Macular Degeneration project.
Leading up to this completed study, several attempts were made to work with h.264 on fades between black and white frames. Similar work was down with audio compression algorithms and white noise. Further works in this series will investigate the effects of different compression algorithms on simple patterns of varying motion, shapes, and transition effects.
As a note, this work is less about abstraction and more about taking the concepts of Concrete Art to a place where expression re-emerges through the algorithm, which I am taking to be an abstraction of human perceptual features mediated by a deterministic system of discrete logic.
Maker Faire 2011 in NYC is chock full of some amazing projects. The sheer quantity and variety of makers showcasing work is staggering. To see everything is definitely more than a two day affair. This year I was invited to present a self-built solar powered music making system for 3rd Ward, where I currently teach the art of making DIY Synthesizers and small scale solar charging systems.
This solar music making station (Protochiptune Project) is powered by a Voltaic Systems 15 Watt panel connected to a 7.5Ah 12V Seal Lead Acid Battery. A 10A solar charge controller does all the power management to drive the music synthesizer’s three 5 Watt amplifiers. The microchips used are from the 4000 series CMOS digital logic family, including such chips as: hex inverting buffer (40106), 12-bit binary counter (4040), 8-to-1 selector switch (4051), quad 2-input AND gate (4081), and divide by n counter (4018). These chips are used together to produce a range of pitches and rhythms that can be sequenced or programmed by moving jumper cables on the breadboard, making a mini patchable modular synth.
At Maker Faire, kids were really attracted to the crazy jams coming out of this thing. Those who were bold enough were allowed to move some of the jumpers around on the board and make up their own musical patterns.
Picked up a Logitech C270HD 740p webcam on ebay for about $23. While waiting for hurricane Irene to arrive, I’ve been prodding about the innards, mostly the CCD element, looking for anything interesting…
Latest experiments tinkering with a Logitech webcam. The exact model isn’t given and cannot be found in the hardware profiles of my Windows Vista machine, but it’s from the older quick cam SD line, possibly the messenger or connect. After removing the casing to expose the circuit board, I then removed the lens piece to expose the CCD element to get abstract blurry images. To get the sounds of the circuits, I had to bypass the microphone, first by removing it, and then soldering a wire to the left side of capacitor 23 (see image below). Two probes were attached to the other end of this wire, allowing me to short circuit points on the CCD and simultaneously listen to the signals.