In glitch art we only ever see result of the process of damaging an image, video or sound. Rarely can we observe this process as it happens within the computer in an instant. Using Alvin Lucier’s 1969 piece I Am Sitting in a Room as inspiration, in this piece I show the many steps taken to damage data to the point where it loses all meaning.
Font files are files that attribute a style to the otherwise plain text that we see on screen. The computer treats this only as an attribute of the text and can understand it regardless of what font file is used or how it looks to the viewer.
In this piece I have used a script, created in collaboration with G Bulmer, that explores the font file and damages it by randomising the values that construct each glyph. The computer, doing only what it has been instructed to do, continually attacks the font files’ data to the point where it is sometimes corrupted and not even it can interpret it correctly.
The resulting video shows the gradual damaging of the data. The viewer will struggle to find meaning amongst the visual noise whilst the computer still understands it.
The full text reads:
I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I have typed out this text using a font called Dataface and I am going to randomise parts of the font file’s code and save the results of it again and again, until it’s appearance becomes illegible and the font file is destroyed. What you will see, then, are the effects of randomisation, with the occasional glitch that occurs when the font file is so badly damaged that the computer is unable to read it. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of my ability to edit fonts but more a way to eliminate all meaning that this text might have.