Writer Nick Zurko interviewed Phillip David Stearns, the artist and designer behind GlitchTextiles. From music to art, glitch to stitches and everything in between. This interview is the most comprehensive glimpse yet at the story behind the creation of GlitchTextiles. READ MORE
November 15 through December 13, 2014
Opening Reception with the Artist :Saturday, November 15 7 – 11 PM
TRANSFER is pleased to present ‘EVIDENT MATERIAL’ a new series of work from Phillip David Stearns. For this exhibition, Stearns produced film-based images without a camera by applying various household chemicals and 15,000 volts of alternating current directly to the film. In a flash, arcs spread out across the surface, burning holes and igniting the film. As in our eyes, images are conveyed in a stream of such electric impulses. Here such impulses are amplified some 300,000 times.
Statement from the Artist:
“The sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye is taken to an extreme. When looking through the Fujifilm FP-100c instant color film datasheets, the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal is striking. Perhaps it is because the development of such film technologies parallels an evolving understanding of how the eye sees.”
This work continues previous explorations challenging the ontology of post-digital photography using extended techniques—bending, cracking and breaking the medium. The works in ‘EVIDENT MATERIAL’explore the potential for analog photographic media to operate beyond their intended capacity for reproducing a world of appearances. The process of extension is applied to every material in such a way that reveals process itself as evidently material.
PHILLIP DAVID STEARNS, (USA, 1982) Based in Brooklyn, NY, Stearns’s work is centered on the use of electronic technologies and electronic media to explore dynamic relationships between ideas and material as mobilized within complex and interconnected societies. Deconstruction, reconfiguration, and extension are key methodologies and techniques employed in the production of works that range from audio visual performances, electronic sculptures, light and sound installation, digital textiles, and other oddities both digital and material.
His work has been exhibited internationally at electronics arts festivals, museums, and galleries including: Turku Biennial 2013, WRO Biennale 2013, Transmediale 2013, Denver Art Museum (2013), The Photographer’s Gallery London (2012), The Camera Club of New York (2012), Eyebeam (2012, 2007), Harvestworks (2010, 2012); Gli.tc/H 2112; and more. Full bio
Artist zaps polaroids with 15,000 volts, WIRED UK Magazine
Let the Sparks Fly, FRAME Magazine
I arranged a swap with Nukeme and UCNV: a couple of glitched throws for a glitched labcoat.
The package arrived today and to my surprise they sent me both versions, light and dark. They are mindblowingly awesome. If you’re long in the arm, like me, see if they’ll taylor to your measurements.
For the next 3 Days, Glitch Textiles are available on Fab.com with sales prices discounted over 20%!
“Electronic media artist Phillip Stearns translates technical malfunctions onto blankets. Available through his Brooklyn-based venture, Glitch Textiles, the cotton creations exhibit psychedelic patterns made by corrupting the hardware of a digital camera, resulting in imagery that’s beautiful in its flaws.” -Fab.com
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Visit my portfolio and click on the support button. You can also like your favorite images. Don’t forget to share with your friends!
9 New Designs for the Jacquard Woven Glitch Blankets now available!
These and all other Glitch Textiles are on sale for $200 each +shipping.
Order by the end of the day on Friday, November 30th to receive yours before December 25th.
I’m in the process of updating each and every page, but ALL Glitch Textiles are available on sale for $200 each plus $15 flat rate shipping (FedEx Ground). Just click on the design you like, then click the “Buy Now” button to place your order via PayPal.
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.
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!
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.
I’m offering these as rewards on the Glitch Textiles kickstarter campaign at the $225 level.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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).
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.
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.
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.
Kodak DC 280
Kodak DC 200/210
Kodak DC 215
Selections from Almost White by Bernhard Garnicnig (source: flickr – images taken between 29 Mar 2006 & 04 Aug 2010)
Photographs taken to set a camera’s white balance.
“Almost all cameras allow the user to set the photographic white point manually. To make this setting on some cameras, you have to shoot a picture of a usually white surface and set it as the white point reference.
These pictures, usually deleted right after confirming the setting, question the concept of subjective realities in the photographic process and document the photographers surroundings from his part unconscious, part mechanic eye. This is one of the last kinds of photography where no post processing is applied by a human while it shows how much the camera is manipulating the image already.
Its one of the last snapshots of photographic truth in the digital imaging age.” — B. Garnicnig
So much of the world is left on the cutting room floor. This is a necessary part of relating experience, whether in the transmission of factual information or the telling of story based on fact. Not every detail is needed in order to give a general picture or to convey the essence of an idea or experience, nor can every detail be captured, recalled, or communicated. Exactly what is omitted reveals the circumstances (bias) around and through which the material aspects of an experience are transformed by the process of relating and crafted into media.
Where lived subjective experience is often filled or obscured by the mediated experience of information displayed or rendered through electronics, today those scraps are increasingly difficult to find. Our culture of digitally mediated exchanges has been carefully structured to remove the perception of the framework through which we conduct our daily activities. The unwanted bits are tucked away on our hard-drives or tossed in the recycling bin—in some cases, deleted in-camera. Everything is curated, edited, cleaned and polished (even the raw webcam feed is a considered choice to convey honesty).
It’s not so much an issue of noise—the din of cellphone rings, tinny ear buds cranked way too high, the drone of our air handling systems and refrigeration units, the screeching, grinding and rumbling of our transportation machines is certainly something we will not easily rid ourselves of—the dust that imposed itself on the grooves of a record, the grain of a piece of paper and the pen-in-hand overcoming it to scrawl a letter, the grit of static and dead air between the stations, are all disappearing.
It is not so much a sense of nostalgia but a reflection, looking back on where we were but a few years ago, while understanding that today digital media strives for higher levels of fidelity (which ironically force television personalities to pursue more extreme methods to alter their physical appearance; this in addition to the artificial sharpening and saturation applied to just about every image these days) in an attempt to look forward into the potential media of the future where everything is so radically fabricated and manipulated that there is no honesty, no substance, no reality left but a simulated phantom of what once was.
What is striking to me about Bernhard’s Almost White series is that it brings to the surface issues of the photographic medium, how its digitization has been quietly accepted as Photography wholesale. The question of what makes photography different than digital imaging has been unearthed. By using these artifacts as evidence of the manipulation nearly every digital image undergoes, Bernard opens the door to questioning the honesty behind every media image. Even tempting us to ask exactly how staged are these white balance calibration shots? Has “fidelity” in the digital (dark) age become a matter of passing off artificially enhanced hyper-realism as reality? Or has it becomes something more subtle, staging reality in such a way that the extraordinary seems mundane?
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.
054 of 366
Still remix of For Daniel Temkin (Dither Study 2).
Limited edition signed 20”x30” prints available. Inquire for details.
053 of 366
Stills from a remix of For Daniel Temkin (Dither Study 3).
052 of 366 (full sized GIF click here)
For Daniel Temkin (Dither Study #3)
- Start with a solid color
- Index and dither using an arbitrarily chosen color palette and dithering algorithm
- Zoom 133.33% and crop
- Repeat 2 and 3
051 of 366 (full size click here)
For Daniel Temkin (Dither Study 2)
- Start with a solid color
- Index and dither using an arbitrarily chosen color palette
- Zoom 200% and crop
- Repeat 2 and 3