Artist Profile: Rosa Menkman

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Collapse of PAL 2010-2011, Rosa Menkman

Through your academic research you’ve developed an intimate understanding and typology of the glitch. You even refer to glitches as a “wonderful interruption that shifts an object away from its ordinary form and discourse, towards the ruins of destroyed meaning.” Do you think that the rarity of glitches gives them a greater significance amidst the endless improvements and sleekness of new technologies? Are there any issues around the production and the exhibition of new media art that you are concerned about? 

Naturally, working with and researching glitches, a concept that etymologically refers to an unstable moment(um) makes me reflect on related issues on a regular basis. In glitch art, where the glitch has been lifted from its technological or informational basis into a social context), the glitch often breaks the expectations of the user, the viewer or maker and as such, infuses a specific momentum with a different or new meaning.

Glitch art is often something to reflect on, a momentum that depends on informational input, technology, time, context and the actors (audience) role or perspective. I like to ask questions like: what are the materials of a particular work of digital glitch art? And from which perspectives should I describe it (from the makers point of view, an art historical or technological point of view or a viewers perspective). What is the (technological) process or referenced process behind the glitch? Problems of conservation and preservation I think are equally interesting - although in certain cases a negative answer (glitches don't need to be preserved) can be sufficient. I think the answer to these questions depends on the particular work of art; there is not one unequivocal answer.
 
I don't think glitches are rare; every medium has its glitches, its fingerprints ...

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Glitch Studies Manifesto by Rosa Menkman

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Rosa Menkman meditates on the occurrence and aesthetics of the glitch amidst software and hardware obseletion in her essay Glitch Studies Manifesto. This essay was part of the Institute of Network Culture's second collection of texts titled Video Vortex Reader II that critically explores the shifting dynamics and expanding field of online video. See below for an excerpt, full essay here.

Technological Progress is an Ill-Fated Dogma

In the beginning it was calm... Then humans built technologies and the first forms of mechanical noise were born. Since that time, artists migrated from the grain, the scratching and burning of celluloid (A Colour Box by Len Lye, 1937) to the magnetic distortion and scanning lines of the cathode ray tube (as explored by Nam June Paik in MagnetTV in 1965). Subsequently digital noise materialized and artists wandered the planes of phosphor burnin, as Cory Arcangel did so wittily in Panasonic TH-42PWD8UK Plasma Screen Burn, in 2007. With the arrival of LCD (liquid crystal display) technologies, dead pixels were rubbed, bugs were trapped between liquid crystals or plastic displays and violent screen crack LCDperformances took place (of which my favorite is %SCR2, by Jodi / webcrash2800 in 2009). Today artists even surf eBay to buy readymade LCDs with T-con board failure or photo cameras with loose CCD (charged coupled device) chips (the latter I too exploited in The Collapse of PAL, 2010).

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