Glitch Art Goes Big

bitmap glitch skull by Flickr user letloosethelambs (CC)

I love outsider art and creative détournement, and so when something as innovative and unsettling as ‘data-moshing‘ and ‘glitch art‘ grew, I took notice. It may have been the inevitable combination of remix culture, hacking/programming, and the new aesthetic, but it definitely makes for some some interestingly (and intentionally) bad art.

Not every artistic endeavor gets recuperated by the mainstream (it sometimes feels as though they are randomly selected), but rather than kvetch about it when they do, it’s interesting to see in what way they are utilized. Glitch art is so jarring, often painful to watch and surely more challenging to create, that I am genuinely surprised that anyone would actually want glitches in their corporate Matrix.

But two pop-culture franchises have utilized it within the last few weeks. The first was the brilliant episode of Adventure Time, “A Glitch is a Glitch“, in which the villainous and buffoonish Ice King shortsightedly releases a virus to corrupt and destroy the entire Land of Ooo. David O’Reilly 3D-animated and beautifully cel-shaded this version of the show soon erupts into a digital blast of violent audio-visual noise, the fusillade of blocky blips and colorful streaks making one wonder if this is all the artifacting of O’Reilly’s exploration, or your subpar download speed. This episode also features an original 8-bit outro theme written by Flying Lotus.

The second is the recently released promo from Man of Steel, in which General Zod (Michael Shannon) briefly cuts in with interstellar imprecision to issue warning to the governments of Earth concerning our harboring his Kryptonian quarry, Kal-El. I would be more upset about this commercialization in its most virulent form, but that I expect Boardwalk Empire‘s Agent Van Alden to prove such a chilling Dru-Zod, perhaps as megalomaniacal as Terence Stamp.

More importantly, these early adopters have stayed true to the mind-blowing and experimental nature of a challenging medium.

For reference of what all that junk data looks like, here is Aaron Jacob Willman‘s “1994”:

You can see the rest of his work on vimeo.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    looks like a bunny…

  • Dingbert

    “Adventure Time” is the best cartoon for Disinfo readers. Especially this episode:

    http://www.tubeplus.me/player/1829008/Adventure_Time_with_Finn_and_Jake/season_2/episode_15/The_Real_You/%22

    “YES!! AND THEIR BRAINS ARE RELEASING ADRENALINE! DOPAMINE! EVEN DIMETHYLTRYPTAMINE FROM THE PINEAL GLAND! This has serious educational value!! Thanatophobia and this NDE is giving us euphoric altered awareness!! Don’t you see, Princess?!? WE WERE ALL BORN TO DIE!!”

    -Finn, in the most absurd statement ever uttered in a children’s cartoon

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I’m not going to lie, Adventure Time is one of my guilty pleasures. It’s got a surprisingly deep story to it for a kids cartoon.

  • echar
    • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

      glitchy gifs like that would be perfect on projectors at darkpsy parties…. utterly perfect

      • echar

        Wow… I like that idea a lot.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      these are amazing

      • echar

        Who needs drugs when you got glitch art?

  • http://www.facebook.com/siaabd Sia Abderezai

    DEATH TO VIDEO DRONE LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

  • http://artasith-m-nasdsnre.tumblr.com/ Simon Valentine

    this stuff. ha ha ha i always wondered if i’d see it anywhere other than my own intrinsic domicile. indeed. Lord Inglip, herald of pestilence!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518097498 Kyle Johnson

    been doing art

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