MTV Visual Ident

I’m happy to finally share with the internet (and the TV) the visual ident I made for MTV

If you’re living anywhere except for the US or UK you can see it on your TV screens. For eveyrone else there’s the internet! A massive thanks goes to MTV for inviting me to make an ident – a process which I’ll hopefully write about soon.

mtv_1

mtv_2

mtv_3

Enjoy!

Glitch GIMP

On Wednesday 29th April I gave my Allowing Mistakes to Happen presentation at Libre Graphics Meeting in Toronto. I was quite anxious about this because the attendees are, typically, developers of software and/or graphic designers. Looking through the archives I found only a comparatively small amount of presentations from artists talking about their artwork and even fewer from those you might call experimental artists (glitch art, generative art etc).

My fears were put to rest somewhat once my presentation actually happened. Despite my computer crashing towards the end (glitch lol) it seems to have struck a chord with many of the attendees. It seemed that they liked that I was turning bugs and the bug hunting process into a form of art.

One such person that was inspired was Michael Natterer, aka Mitch, one of the developers for GIMP, the premier open source photo and image editing software. He showed me how by changing one option when compiling Cairo the contents of the image window would be glitched.

Glitch GIMP

Of course I was quite impressed by the prospect of having a full-featured editing program that could produce only glitch art, so quickly sought advice on compiling it for myself. Presented below are instructions for creating your own glitched GIMP.

Before we go on

This compilation process and the resulting binary file has only been tested on Ubuntu 15.04. I have no way of knowing if the same will work on Windows, Mac OSX or any other flavour of Linux. Also, this tutorial assumes that you have some knowledge of compiling software. If this is all daunting to you go do some research.

…and now we begin

To avoid conflicts we’re going to compile and install Glitch GIMP to its own directory, leaving the original GIMP unmodified.

First create build and installation directories.

[code language=”bash”]mkdir build
mkdir install
mkdir install/share/
mkdir install/share/aclocal[/code]

In the build directory you’ll need to create a file which will hold our environment variables.

[code language=”bash”]cd build
touch env.sh[/code]

These environment variables will tell the computer where to install GIMP. A word of caution, these environment variables are valid for the current session. In other words, if you close your terminal window you’ll have to load these in again. Fill you env.sh file with the following, changing the first line to point to your install directory.

[code language=”bash”]PREFIX=/~
export PATH=$PREFIX/bin:$PATH
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$PREFIX/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
export XDG_DATA_DIRS=$PREFIX/share:$XDG_DATA_DIRS
export GIO_EXTRA_MODULES=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gio/modules
export ACLOCAL_FLAGS="-I $PREFIX/share/aclocal"
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
export CPPFLAGS=-I$PREFIX/include
export LDFLAGS=-L$PREFIX/lib[/code]

Now fill your session with those variables.

[code language=”bash”]. env.sh[/code]

Now we can begin compiling! You’ll have to install GIMP’s dependencies and an extra library.

[code language=”bash”]sudo apt-get build-dep gimp
sudo apt-get install libexiv2-dev[/code]

Still in the build directory you’ll now have to clone parts necessary to compiling GIMP.

[code language=”bash”]git clone git://git.gnome.org/babl
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gegl
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gexiv2
git clone git://git.gnome.org/gimp[/code]

And Cairo.

[code language=”bash”]git clone git://git.cairographics.org/git/cairo[/code]

And now, compile and install babl and gegl:

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

hint: if, like me, you have four processors you can run [code language=”bash”]make -j4[/code] to speed up compiling.

In gexiv2 run:

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

In the cairo directory run

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/ –enable-xlib-xcb=yes
make -j4
make install[/code]
(this is the compile option that causes the glitches 😉 )

And finally, compile and install GIMP

[code language=”bash”]./autogen.sh –prefix=/path/to/install/directory/
make -j4
make install[/code]

In your install/bin directory you should now have a file called gimp-2.9. Run this and let the glitch begin.

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

Glitch GIMP

One thing you will instantly notice is that you can’t directly export the glitch output to a file. This is for display only and, like true glitches, can’t be easily replicated or captured. The only way to do this is to take a screenshot, which is ideal for on-screen display but not so great if you want print quality output.

I’ve been told that I could produce some more reliable glitches by creating or hacking GEGL plugins. I haven’t delved into this yet but if anyone wants to assist please do get in touch.

Thanks

I never would have gained this knowledge had I not been able to attend Libre Graphics Meeting. As seen in the forum thread describing how I came across the databending in Audacity method, trying to ask developers how to creatively break your software can be a confusing task. However, being able to show the developers IRL what can be produced allowed the flow of information to be smoother and more productive than an e-mail exchange would have been.

Libre Graphics Meeting will be coming to London in 2016 and the aim is for it to be free for all to attend, and to cover travel costs of speakers, as it has done every year. If you want to help more stuff like this happen donate now.

JPG Glitch Pattern Generator

Back in January I posted some images of funky patterns. Today I’m formally releasing the script that brought the funk.

JPG Glitch Pattern Generator

JPG Glitch Pattern Generator

Download them from Github.

The first script, pattern_generator.sh, works by exploiting jpg compression on randomly generated images. The script starts by generating a 10px x 10px iamge containing three colours:

100px100px

It then iteratively decreasese the quality of these images from 78 (or whatever quality you change it to) down to 0. It does this a number of times – defined in loop – whilst also scaling the image by 410% at the end of each loop.

If you uncomment line 31 you can save each frame in this process. These have been scaled to a common size to make converting to a gif or video that little bit easier.

jgpggif

The second script, batch_pattern_generator.sh, performs the same process but on an image you specify. Place a jpg in the same directory and it’ll be compressed and scaled. Here’s an image of sculptures by one of my favourite artists, Alexander Calder, as seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago:

Chicago

And then processed by the script:

Alexander Calder - JPG Glitch Pattern Generator

Like the first script, if you uncomment line 31 you can save each of the frames to individual files.

J̊̓̌̋̓̐͏̴͕̺̻̱̼̭͞☂̨̇͑͊̑ͯ̿ͦ̄͜͏̶̗̳̠̗̹̖͖̦̰̤̞͓͙ͅ☃̊ͭ̇͑̉ͧ̔̐̅͑̈́ͮ̎ͩ͂ͣ̒̐̀҉͔̮̩̠͝∆̴̬͓͈́ͣ̽ͯ̍̄͐̽͒̐̄͗ͭ̂̆̋̽̀̚͜Ǥ͓͔̹͔̺͕̦̥̪̹̼̺͕͂ͨͤ͗́̏ͬ͊͡╔̢̧̻̟̰̯̰̬̮̟̪ͮ̑͂̅̔̽̅̎̒̔͛ͯ̚͡͡ʓ̐̏ͪͫͩ̓̇̔̏ͫͥ̃̔ͦ̾ͭͫ̉̚͏͏͔̟̰͇̬̯̝̲̪̬̙̜̣͟͢͢ͅ❧̛̤̹̪̯̳͔̼̣͙̞͍͉͔̈̐ͨͧ̉̇̏̾ͦ̐̃͛͗̋͌̽̆̕❃͆ͧͥ̿͑̽͋̏̈҉̳̪͕̪̦̥̬̰̰̕͠Ȉ̷̡̻̹͙̥̺̝̫̟̲͖̪ͩ̑͐͑ͧ͆̉͘͞

If you take a look at the scripts you will see that many of the variables can be easily changed. The loop count could be increasd, which would result in noiser images. Other processing could be done before or during the scaling and quality reduction. It’s all up to you!

Pure Data File Killer

On one of my frequent journeys on the information superhighway I stumbled across Little-Scale’s Mass JPG Killer. This handy little patch allows a user to load any binary file and “glitch” it by overwriting some of the original data with a repeating pattern of user-defined data.

Mass JPG Killer by Little-Scale

The only problem (for me and people like me) is that I don’t have Max/MSP and can’t install it on Linux, meaning I’ve never actually used it!

Little-Scale very kindly provided the internet at large with screenshots of the inner workings of the patch. I was able to to use a whole lot of science and maths to rewrite and reinterpret this patch of mass destruction in Pure Data, which is more easily available.

Pure Data File Killer

Click to download

Click to download

Usage

Usage of the patch is very simple and can yield some quite interesting results!

  • Click open to load a binary file. Pure Data may freeze for a moment if you’re loading in a large file. I don’t recommend loading in a file over 100MB
  • Set the byte offset. This number represents the starting point at which the patch will start “corrupting” the file. If you’re a glitchspert (glitch + expert) you’ll remember that you should avoid modifying the header. To avoid modifying the header set the offset to the 1000s.
  • Set the period value. This can be hard to understand, so here’s an example: If the period is set 1378 then at intervals of 1378 bytes from the offset it will modify the data.
  • Set the data value. This works in conjunction with the period value. Using the previous example, if the data is set to 102 then at intervals of 1378 bytes it will replace the current byte value with 102.
  • Press either random period or random byte data to populate these values with random values.
  • Press glitch it!. Guess what that does.
  • Write the files to save them to the same directory as the source file. The original file will not be overwritten.
  • To start again press the reset button. It will load the original byte data.

This patch is very similar to Little-Scale’s with a couple of exceptions:

  • The offset cannot be set for each instance. This is by design as I felt it was a bit redundant.
  • You no longer need to copy the hex data to a new file in order to view the results
  • It’ll work on any platform that can run a full version Pure Data Extended. This should include the Raspberry Pi version as GEM is not required.

Output

Although it was originally inspired by the JPG Killer you can get some very interesting results if you use other file formats and set the period data to a number less than 20.

Pure Data File Killer - Bliss (sgi)

Pure Data File Killer - Bliss (jpg)

Pure Data File Killer - Bliss (pix)

Pure Data File Killer - Bliss (pix)

The Transnational Glitch

Below is my article for Volume 2, Issue 1 of Libre Graphics magazine. You can still buy the issue or download it from their website.

American English is the common language of computing and the internet. That’s quite unfortunate. There are indeed many talented non-English speakers building our websites and shaping our digital future. That potential aside, one only has to look at the programming languages themselves and even small things like web addresses to see a bias towards English. Functions in popular programming languages are derived from English and, while websites that are not in English exist, their URLs are always in English, with only the domain extension (.fr, .pt, .es, .cn, etc.) available to give the website a sense of cultural identity.

lgm_5

The English-language bias also extends itself to digital art. Creative programming languages like Pure Data and Processing still use English as their common language and present barriers to those who want to take part. Is an English-only ecosystem really the way forward?

One area of digital art that I see transcending these barriers is glitch art. Glitch art is the aesthetisation of digital or analogue errors, such as artifacts and other “bugs”, by either corrupting digital code and data or by physically manipulating electronic devices. Glitching through physical manipulation of electronics has been popularized by the practice of circuit bending. If this sounds too vague, think of a television screen beginning to corrupt or a camera taking strange-looking pictures. Glitch artists try to capture and reproduce these types of ephemeral moments and display them as art.

lgm_4

The history of glitch art is very hard to trace. Glitch music (Aphex Twin, Autechre) has been around since the 1990s and with it, chaotic and noisy visuals like those of Gantz Graf by Autechre and Szamar Madar by Venetian Snares. In popular culture it has even broken out of the electronic music scene and can be seen everywhere from music videos by Kanye West, Xiu Xiu and Everything Everything to advertisements for MTV and The Biggest Loser. One only has to look at the “glitch art” tag on Tumblr or Flickr to see that it is an art form that has sparked the imaginations of people the world over.

lgm_2

Beyond the internet, digital arts and new media festivals serve as physical meeting places for those interested in digital art forms. Glitch art has found an audience at these festivals. Festival de Arte Digital in Brazil, AND (Abandon Normal Devices) in the UK and Transmediale in Germany are only a selection of venues which, at one time or another, have had sections devoted to glitch art. However, until 2002, there hadn’t been a festival dedicated solely to glitch art.

lgm_3

In 2002, in Oslo, Norway, the Motherboard art group was the first to hold a large-scale glitch art event. Post-Oslo, glitch-specific events laid dormant for a time, until 2010, when the GLI.TC/H conference began in Chicago. Since then, it has taken place in 2011 in Amsterdam and Birmingham, UK. I attended the 2010 festival in Chicago and the 2011 festival in Birmingham. What quickly became apparent to me from this festival was the international appeal of glitch art. While the bulk of participants physically present at the 2010 festival in Chicago and the 2011 festival in Birmingham were English speaking, the contributions of art came from an international community of creators.

lgm_1

The popularisation of glitch art on the internet, the increasing number of festivals featuring sections devoted to glitch art and the overwhelming response to the GLI.TC/H festivals since 2010 only highlights its international appeal and suggests that the visual language of glitch art transcends languages, cultural differences and location barriers. Glitch art needs no common language. The process of throwing a camera into the air in order to produce glitches requires no proficiency in any language — programming or spoken — or professional qualification. The shattered screens, errors on computers and broken things will always evoke the same feelings of panic, frustration, annoyance, elation or glee no matter where in the world you are.

Dirty New Media photos

Here’s a selection of photos taken by Pete Ashton for Dirty New Media.

DNM Minuek performance 01

DNM Circuit Ben performance 02

DNM Lobby

DNM Exhibition 09

DNM Exhibition 03

DNM Dan O'Hara Lecture 04

DNM Circuit Ben Workshop 10

The full album can be seen here. If you took any photos or videos please upload them and tag them with “DNM” and “Dirty New Media”. Or just send them to me and I’ll upload them 😉

Dirty New Media

Dirty New Media took place on Thursday 21st March at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts. It was one of the most adventurous exhibitions that I’ve curated!

Thanks go out to:

Here’s a list of all of the works/pieces/artists included in the programme, should you want to check out more:

Exhibition

Benjamin Gaulon [aka Recyclism]- KindleGlitched
Jeff Donaldson – 16bit Edition Glitch Scarf – source: Atari ST emulator read error
Dec Ackroyd – Cityscape #46
Jason Soliday – Harbinger Variations
Charlotte Frost and Rob Myers – #arthistory
Kate Pemberton – Tacert
Jamie Boulton – C:\Users\5629a7\Pictures\IDDisplay.jpg
URRRGH – __KWEEN_CLARISSURRRGH, __YOUCHOOB_4_EVA, __ALADDINZ_CAT
Stef Lewandowski – Data Necklace

Super Special Essay

Shawne Holloway + Steven Hammer – 1_approach.dnm: (inter)active viewership in dirty new media. The whole text can be read in the Dirty New Media programme

Lectures

Jon Cates – WTF?! is D1RTY N3W M3DI∆?!
(For those that didn’t get one, Jon’s PDF, 1337 ¥³4Γ$ øƒ D1RTY N3W M3DI∆: 2005 – 2012 CH1C∆Gø, can be downloaded from GL1TCH.US)
Dan O’Hara – An Irregular and Spasmodic History of Glitches and other Systemic Stutterings

Screenings

(in order)
Modulate- O>L>S
Nick Kegeyan – i went home this winter (or my friends, lights, a game, and the last time i saw my childhood home)
Antonio Roberts – I Am Sitting in a Room
Carrie Gates – A portrait of a portrait of a portrait of nn
Bryan Peterson – [Dirty] inputs/processes.outputs
Theodore Darst – Approach
Jennifer Chan – [[[ I’ll Show You HD ]]]
Kevin Carey – OTC/DXM [256_l4y3rz_0v_sYrVp_r3m1xxx]
Sian Macfarlane – /ˈzi(ə)rˌäks/ (xerox)
Michael Lightborne – What Did The Duck Say To The Pig?

A/V Performances

Minuek
Norah Lorway
Circuit Ben

There’ll be videos appearing soon, but in the meantime check out the photos from Pete Ashton:

DNM Exhibition 10

DNM Circuit Ben performance 01

DNM Jon Cates Lecture 02

Till next time…

Dirty New Media preview: 1_approach.dnm: (inter)active viewership in dirty new media

Dirty New Media will be making its way to The Barber Institute of Fine Arts on 21st March as part of the University of Birmingham’s Arts and Science Festival.

Super Special Essay

Shawne Holloway + Steven Hammer – 1_approach.dnm: (inter)active viewership in dirty new media

The invisibility of various technologies, interfaces, and wares, via their often seductive and seamless interfaces, fosters a kind of cultural ocularcentrism[1] vis-a-vis capitalist consumerism. Dirty New Media (DNM) seeks to disengage our perception of screen-based activity from the two-dimensional, and critique material production of objects and systems that produce, curate, and guide reception of various texts.

keithdoddshellocatfood

In this way, DNM is both responsive and anticipatory to the proliferation of a culture uncritically enamoured with digital/web/device-being. By absorbing a wide array of amateur and artisan generated media artifacts, the (anti)genre “once anticipated and now brings us”[2] a form of technophenomenology, a cyber-ouroboros, allowing fluidity between our consciousness and digital media. This recursivity begins to weave a distinctly humanistic[3] perspective alongside the non-human data streaming from network to network, window to window.

[[[Read the whole essay in the Dirty New Media programme, available on the day]]]

Meta

Dirty New Media // REVOLUTION 02

THURSDAY 21 MARCH | 4-10PM | THE BARBER INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM

An engaging day of performances and interactive installations from digital artists, hacktivists and new media explorers from the West Midlands, Chicago and beyond. Artworks take the form of hacked and customised hardware, accessories, demos, lectures, data-mangling, projection and more!

This eclectic, expectation bending event is presented by Vivid Projects in association with artist/curator Antonio Roberts and The Barber institute of Fine Arts.

Free admission, no booking required. Dirty New Media. For further information and times, please contact 0121 414 2261 or email education@barber.org.uk. Facebook event link.

dnmani

Dirty New Media preview: A/V Performances

Dirty New Media will be making its way to The Barber Institute of Fine Arts on 21st March as part of the University of Birmingham’s Arts and Science Festival. Over the week I’ll be providing an overview of the upcoming event.

AV Performances | 7-10pm

Minuek


Circuit Ben


Norah Lorway


Meta

Dirty New Media // REVOLUTION 02

THURSDAY 21 MARCH | 4-10PM | THE BARBER INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM

An engaging day of performances and interactive installations from digital artists, hacktivists and new media explorers from the West Midlands, Chicago and beyond. Artworks take the form of hacked and customised hardware, accessories, demos, lectures, data-mangling, projection and more!

This eclectic, expectation bending event is presented by Vivid Projects in association with artist/curator Antonio Roberts and The Barber institute of Fine Arts.

Free admission, no booking required. Dirty New Media. For further information and times, please contact 0121 414 2261 or email education@barber.org.uk. Facebook event link.

dnmani