[Research Critique 3] Glitch and the Art of Destruction

My group decided to undertake audio as our main medium for Micro-Project 5, as we didn’t want to repeat the idea with visuals from Micro-Project 4. Initially, we recorded a set of noises, first using our voices singing ‘Happy Birthday’ as a base for the audio. From the beginning we already had the idea of inconsistencies and problems in mind, as when we sang the song, we decided to sing different at pitches and tempos, while covering our ears to block ourselves from hearing the others, so that we would end up with a ‘Happy Birthday’ that sounded way off-tune, unpleasant, and basically what you would never hear at your usual birthday party. This resonates with what Jon Cates mentions in his interview with Hyperallergic, referring to glitch art as “a way to foreground as you say, an aberrance or perversion of normative message or what we might perceive to be logical reasoning”. By twisting around the idea of a happy birthday song, one that everyone is familiar with, we create the basis for our artwork with an already manually ‘glitched’ version of the song that goes against normative expectations.

Initial set of recordings:

Final ‘glitched’ audio:

We took the destruction on step further by using Audacity to manipulate the audio, adding on other sounds that we had recorded within the ADM using everyday objects like bins, doors and water bottles. Repeating the sounds, adding reverb, creating differences in pitch and tempo, adding “Wahwah” — our edits resulted in a haunting, choppy and chaotic audio that sounded unrecognisable compared to our previous sets of recordings. It is unpleasant (a mild way to put it), and would clearly link to the idea presented in Rosa Menken’s Glitch Studies Manifesto: “Here noise exists within the void opposite to what (already) has a meaning. Whichever way noise is defined, the negative definition also has a positive consequence: it helps by (re)defining its opposite”. The disturbing aspects of our audio help to emphasise on perhaps the beauty in the noises in our natural environment (in this case, ADM) that we take for granted everyday. Only when we are faced with an audio that is a perverted form of these noises we start to subconsciously define the uniqueness and pleasant aspects of these ubiquitous sounds. Furthermore, usually when creating music, artists layer sounds and evaluate the harmonious qualities of the music by repeating their audio over and over during the process. However, during our process, we proceeded ‘blindly’, repeating sounds and making adjustments without listening to what the audio sounded like, in order to create something that was truly unexpected and unfamiliar, even to the artists. I personally feel that there is a difference between simply deconstructing, and truly destroying: the purest form of a glitch would be one that is unexpected by literally every living being that may come into contact with it.

Interview with Chip Lord

Glitch and destruction is certainly a form of artistic expression, perhaps in the most tongue-in-cheek form out there. It aims to remove the notion of what exactly is ‘good art’ by going against the grain in creating artwork that is controversial and passionate. Essentially, I believe that everything that carries meaning and message can constitute artwork. For example, in Chip Lord’s interview in ‘Networked Conversations’, the artwork ‘Media Burn’ is brought up, where Ant Farm involved multiple components like logos, a fake President, brochures and postcards to heighten the realism of their artwork, which brings across the message of retaliating against the media of that era. With that level of detail and effort, they have created iconic works that have expressed messages that ring true and continue to inspire even today.

[The Third Space] Research Critique 2

The third space is to me, is a space where the realm of the physical crosses over with that of the virtual, and a uniquely existing space is created where we supposedly interact with another body that exists in another dimension.

Paul Sermon, Telematic Dreaming, 1992.

Collapsing boundaries in the third space employs a wide usage of technology, especially concerning live feeds that allow people from different places to interact, and despite the difference in locations, closeness and intimacy can still be forged. Quoting from Randall Packer’s “The Third Space” article, “[The third space] is the pervasiveness of distributed space and the degree and myriad of ways in which we are constantly connected.” Similar to this principle, I primarily thought about the usage of the five senses and how they contribute to creating a dimensional fabric that becomes increasingly realistic the more senses and the degree of the senses you involve in the work; for example how touch and sight and sounds of another being would trump simply their visual appearance. Maria Chatzichristodoulo mentions this as an example in her essay, Cyberformance, referencing “Melbourne-based Company in Space that aimed to “create dialogues between our visual, aural and kinetic perceptions”.” More information from our receptors thus creates a more vivid experience. The knowledge that you are also interacting with someone in real time also reinforces the sensation of someone truly tracking your movements and expressions at the same time as you are analysing them, and the environment you employ in the work also influences this. A work conducted in a private, isolated setting, away from the judgement of other people, is bound to be more intimate than that of a busy public space.

Posted by Joseph Tan on Monday, 5 February 2018


In our piece, the ‘third’ body’ is created between the three of us, where we hop in and out of the different screens simultaneously (or at least we try our best to!!), and thus create a third person that is switching locations at a glance. Connection and collaboration between the three of us occured in the form of trying to coordinate with each other by looking through the screens to see whether we were actually syncing up our jumping, and it took a lot of tries before we got it right! We also had to communicate verbally for this to happen despite being in different spaces. Feedback from classmates gave some suggestions on how our idea could be improved, such as not including our faces, and wearing the same clothes, to bring out the idea of being the same, or the ‘third person’.

[D.I.W.O] Research Critique I


The first poll on Joseph’s Instagram story!

Our project, a crowd-sourced artwork based off a virtual audience’s choices acts as a departure from the traditional single-artist artwork by involving various collaborators that even join in at different stages of the artwork.

Second poll on Joseph’s Insta story

In our artwork, the viewer is given the power to assemble a drawing of a scenery according to the preference of the majority. Conversely, the role of us as the artists are simply to assign options to the audience, which gives us a semblance of control over the artwork, but still is a rebalancing of power roles compared to traditional artwork where power is usually fully assigned to the artist, thus resounding with D.I.W.O, as it usually ‘challenges and renegotiates the power roles between artists and curators’.

Third poll on Joseph’s Insta

Moreover, this artwork is clearly part of the category of ‘co-produced, networked artistic activities’. One aspect of social interaction exists between us as artists requesting cooperation from the viewer, whereas another aspect is the network between viewers, when they select their option and find out whether their votes are part of the minority or majority, and feel the sense of being part of a collective network.

The fourth poll on Joseph’s Insta

While this kind of voting work could certainly take place in real life, putting the artwork on Instagram, or the Web, allows us to make us of its capabilities to collect votes from people in different locations and at varying times (although we did have to make use of only a short timeframe as a constraint), and without the physical presence of other viewers around a certain viewer to influence them, and the lack of knowledge about others’ choices, their selection would be optimally, as objective and self-governed as possible.

The fourth poll on Joseph’s Insta

Our artwork would perhaps be similar to the artwork we discussed on “Wikipedia Art’, and ‘Crowdsourced Relationships’ in the aspect of allowing strangers to contribute to the final result of an artwork or process. However, it is not as open as the voting process is only open for a period of 24 hours, and only followers or visitors to Joseph’s Instagram will be voting, thus placing constraints on time and availability of the artwork compared to bigger artworks.

Last poll!!!

Overall, from the discussion in class about our artwork, it doesn’t really look as much like a mass piece of artwork because it was done by our hand and thus looks like art from a single person. If there were less constraints on time and space, perhaps the artwork could have been much larger scale and done by multiple viewers, like a pass-it-along piece of digital art or something. :)))

From my discussion in class with Lei during my presentation of this research critique, I chanced upon the idea of how the duration of time of the art work affected the scale of the artwork. Logically, if a work were available for the audience to edit over a longer period of time, the work would most likely become larger in size or have more content if the area was fixed. Furthermore, if audiences have a longer time to ponder over the response to the artwork, their responses will likely become more complex and contributory to the work, making the work more expanse emotionally and mentally as well.

Final artwork!