[Glitching vs. Processing vs. Moshing vs. Signal Interference]
evan meaney /// 2010
In going through all of the (excellent) submissions for GLI.TC/H, it has become more and more apparent that we need to discuss an issue of video diversity in our practices. There are several different means by which visual data may become bent or may be represented as bent and each of these processes carry with them specific requirements, both of the author and of user. As I am a hierarchical being (thank you very much Mr. Bacon) I am naturally inclined to, not only order these tactics in terms of viability or truth, but intellectualize why the tactic I use (glitching) is, in fact, the most viable. I will attempt to avoid such a class system. At this point in our young confederation, I am not ready to start labeling something as ‘not glitchy enough’ or ‘the wrong kind of broken’. My aim here is to give some sort of definition for different practices which approach similar results and perhaps make some observations based on the comparisons between our differing ways of visual deconstruction.
Glitching: A process of visual abstraction, cultivated through a direct, intentional intervention into the code of the file. Hex editors, re-encoding, rewriting directly.
Processing: A process of visual abstraction, cultivated through the application of pre- or self- made filters in an editing client context. This may be done digitally (Bad TV filter in Final Cut / digital patching in MAX MSP) or through an analog process (patching and re-sampling).
Moshing: A process of visual abstraction, cultivated through the destruction of key-frames within a particular time-based visual project through the use of a software client. Having only i-frames to carry content, moshed projects tend to bleed pixels.
Signal Interference: A process of visual abstraction, cultivated through the tactile, counter-signal based, or algorithmic intervention into the transmission of an electronic signal from one site to another. Analog video feeds, static, analog feedback, live keying, work made at the Experimental TV Center.
Now, I am sure, being imperfect, that I have left out a number of different flavors of information bending. I would ask that we use this space as a means to explore and delineate, to observe and report, to enumerate data bending art practices. To examine how these processes are different as much as they are alike. Where do they overlap? Where do they converge and why? How can we set up the next generation of hacktivists to continue this work.
I would like to note something here as I close. There has been a good amount of talk concerning which of these forms is ‘true’. Now, I am not sure about what that word means, but I will suggest that a true glitch is not reproducible. It is something born out of a defiance of the expected discourse. So no work presented at GLI.TC/H will be a ‘true’ glitch because it is send-able, executable, expect-able, viable, even totally stable. Does this make us fake or false? Does this make us posers? No. What it makes us is as imperfect as the work we would attempt to address. We could never design imperfection perfectly. And anyway, who would want to.