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The Rise of Glitch Art: beauty in error

You have probably heard the word "glitch" whenever you're playing video games and see your character do some weird shit like go into an abyss forever which leaves you both upset and very confused. A glitch is defined as "a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or irregularity of equipment." Despite its negative connotation, glitches prove that self-expression prevails even when things don't go exactly as expected.

Photo: Will Selviz - Model: Daria Mikhaylyuk

The Aesthetics

"Glitch" is already loaded with an aesthetic — highly saturated rainbow stripes and white noise chopping up an image, pixelated video streams in which the subjects' words don't match up with the audio, shimmering and twitching spots in video games. Although glitches are more often than not met with impatience or annoyance, a growing number of artists are aestheticizing errors from digital or analog sources, either by intentional manipulation or by malfunctions and corruptions like the ones we're already familiar with.

Understanding the Means

Glitch art surged as a result of the hyperrealism portrayed in contemporary media, with its perfectly colored, framed and lit content; similar to when punk emerged as a reaction to the hyper-polished sound of mid 20th century rock n' roll.

Glitch art acts as a comment on our increasing reliance on technology in a specific manner that goes beyond the capability of conventional art forms. Artists are mapping the glitch aesthetic onto furniture, street art, fashion, textiles, and more. We’ve got to know how to be an effective audience (and, for some of us, an effective contributor) to the movement as the aesthetic starts to appear in public spaces, art galleries and museums; we need to look critically at glitch art in all its forms, to engage with it and judge it, to decide if we are annoyed or inspired by different claims it makes, and to make the call for ourselves if a piece has meaning or not.

Glitch in the Mainstream

You'd be surprised to hear that even Yeezy himself has endorsed the style for music videos such as "Welcome To Heartbreak" back in 2009. The technique is called datamoshing; the practice of intentionally using compression artifacts in digital video and animated GIFs.

More recently, A$AP Mob went for the same glitch technique in their song "Yamborghini High."

Trendsetters and influential artists are starting to realize the potential of this technique. Although, some believe that the beauty of this movement lies in its lack of attention from the mainstream, this can be the opportunity for a movement to make its mark on art history books.

What's your take on glitch art? Does it evoke annoyance or widen perception of art? Let us know!

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