Research Critique 3: Glitch & The Art of Destruction


The Glitch project embraces problems, inconsistencies, and accidents as it’s process and outcome as a whole relies on it entirely. As each member of the group takes turns editing the photo, there is inconsistencies. There is no procedure or rules on how to edit so the outcomes are always inconsistent. The next member in turn to edit does not know what the previous member’s intentions or their image on the final outcome was so they ‘accidentally’ alter it.

For the Destruction project, problems, inconsistencies, and accidents are what cooking was all about. There is inconsistent sliced pieces of bacon and there are accidents like preparing enough bowls. But all these was embraced and seen as part of the process and performance. As mentioned in the Glitch Studies Manifesto. “There is an obvious critique: to design a glitch means to domesticate it. When the glitch becomes domesticated, controlled by a tool, or technology (a human craft) it has lost its enchantment and has become predictable.” The best part about cooking is although there is a recipe, each dish would taste a bit different depending on who cooked it and the accident that happened along the way such as replacing a sauce that you do not have.

The medium in the Glitch project was originally a normal photograph. It has been transformed through deterioration and destruction. The photograph was taken down part by part to create a new montage by the broken pieces.

In the destruction process, deterioration and destruction transformation is part of the process. The original medium which was the ingredients have been transformed during the cooking process. It’s original state is no longer recognizable because anything that catches the attention of our five senses has changed.

Glitch and destruction, to me, is an act of artistic expression because it is unpredictable. Like what Randall Packer says in a conversation with Jon Cates, “But the way to not be stuck is to focus on glitch as a form of surprise and as a way of glitching people’s expectations.”. Like how Jackson Pollock might have a vague idea of how he wants to splatter paint, glitch art also only has a vague idea of intention. The result is solely dependent on what happens. As such, art is supposed to evoke a feeling in a human being. And surprise is one feeling. 

Research Critique 2 // the inner self

Our project took advantage of Facebook Live’s split screen to create symmetry with hand gestures, facial expressions, and drawings as shown below.

This allowed us to create a “person” in a performance space that does not exist in reality. In other words, we created a “third” space which is “…the fusion of the physical (first space) and the remote (second space) into a third space that can be inhabited by remote users simultaneously or asynchronously” as Randall Packer’s The Third Space says.

“Third” space in our case is the creation of a “third” body by having two individuals (Azizah and I) becoming a singular individual collaboratively. This individual despite having halves of its bodies in different location was able to perform the same tasks from each half.

Maria Chatzichristodoulo states in Cyberperforamnce, “Telematic performance flourished in the dance technology field in particular, as the absence of textual narrative and the focus on movement and visuals made such explorations more intuitive”.

I found this to be true because the main method we used to collapse boundaries in the third space was by focusing on the visual aspects of the performance. For instance, to create the impression we are a singular individual, we would put together half of our faces to create one face and show the same emotions. This seemed more effective than using sound because we’ve been exposed to listening to music on sound systems even if we do not have a live band playing. 

An interesting fact is that Azizah and I did not really know or talk to each other prior to working on this project together. It was possible to create closeness and intimacy after the Facebook Live despite interacting in a fake space. I believe it was possible because:

1. 2 of our senses (vision and hearing) was being involved in the interaction

2. As Packer suggests, “The digital natives have never known another reality…”. As such, being able to Skype and video call others is an everyday reality for Azizah and I. Being “digital natives” we might be unconsciously accepting interaction in a third space the same as interaction in real space. Thus, we felt closeness and intimacy.

Research Critique 1 // Airdrop

Our collective artwork was focused on receiving images from viewers via Airdrop. The role of the artist was minimal as all we had to do was send an image requesting viewers to send an image back. The role of the viewer was crucial as we wanted a collection of images from strangers showing what they were doing at the moment.

Our goal was to create a collaborative album of our lifestyle in NTU through interactions with strangers.

Although there is no physical interaction, it is a DIWO because this project makes use of Airdrop which according to Marc Garrett in his DIWO article is “an umbrella term for various ‘art and technologically’ related practice”. This makes it different from traditional art because:

1. It requires and is created through the immediate response of the audience who become co-creators.
2. The artists no longer have control over their work. It will be re-edited and further developed freely by the audience.
3. As Garrett says, it “…go against the concept of scarcity and ownership. This prevents branding for economic value.”

The project is somewhat similar to the Human Clock by Craig D. Giffen.

Like the Human Clock, the Airdrop project requires photo contributions from strangers and like Garrett says, “it’s core values also involve self-governance” because we have no control over what photos we will receive. However, the difference is that it had specific directions on what photos to send and the co-creators of the art can view other people’s photos as well.

Our first attempt took place in the ADM library and ADM lounge.

This ended in failure as although we did acquire few photos, the contributors were not total strangers. They were ADM people helping out ADM people.

We thought the problems were:

1. Unspecific instructions
2. Not enough people with their Air Drop on
3. People being suspicious or unwilling to accept a photograph from a stranger

With these in mind, the second attempt took place in areas like the North Spine Canteen and Lee Wee Nam library where there are a wider range of possible participants.

The changes we made was to make use of the AirDrop preview function. This allows the person to see the photograph we will be dropping to them. So we decide to make the font of the photo bigger so that the participant can see what we’re sending them. Also, we made the request more specific and moved to a new location.

Despite these efforts, the project ended in failure.

We can learn from this that the platform we choose for DIWO and media art in general (especially if it requires participation from audience) should be easily accessible to everyone.