</2012>

2012 was a very surprising year. 2011 was definitely exciting, but this year saw me travelling a lot more and making links with people all over the world. Here’s most of what I got up to this year.

January

As usual, January was a quiet month, with one exception: In addition to helping to organise Network Music Festival, I did two performances: one with BiLE and the other with Freecode.

February

I started this month with my graduation ceremony. I had finished my MA in Digital Arts in Performance at Birmingham City University in October 2011, so it was nice to have a proper send-off!

Graduation

Later that month I made my first international trip to take part in the Co-Position meeting for the Libre Graphics Research Unit in Brussels, Belgium. It was great to see the guys at Constant again and to many other practitioners, thinkers and hackers that are interested in open source software tools for the creation of art.

The Libre Graphics Research Unit

Photo by Tom Lechner

I published a report on the activities at the meeting for Furtherfield.

As soon as I came back work from international glitchers, myself included, were included in the Bus Tops exhibition that took place around London. Here’s a short video.

March

BYOB Birmingham, which took place as part of Flatpack Festival, was the main focus for this month. Myself and Pete Ashton brought together 18 artists from around the UK, 23 projectors and three musicians to VIVID for one night of video projection. It was a highly successful event and a great way to start my year of curating exhibitions.

April

When I’m not glitching, one of my favourite things to do is cycling-related activities. Papergirl is an idea that originated in Berlin in 2005, where rolls of art are distributed on bicycles to an unsuspecting public!. Kate Grundy, with support from 48 Sheet, made Papergirl Birmingham happen. On 28th April lots of cyclists gathered to distribute art!


Photo by Lee Basford

I supplied some prints from I Am Sitting in a Room. Some unlucky person in Birmingham has these!

May

Another quiet month for my digital art. I played a small part in organising the The Big Vintage Ride. More than 100 people, dressed in their best vintage attire, cycled across the busy streets of Birmingham on a hot May afternoon.

There’s lots of photos and a video of the event.

Something In The Water, a magazine by Ross Cotton that I provided a few illustrations for, also came out this month.

June

June started with my biggest VJing gig to date. Com Truise toured the UK to promote his album, Galactic Melt. I provided visuals for his gig at The Bull’s Head in Birmingham. Here’s a sample of the visuals that I did:

After this, the second of my curatorial projects took place. TOYBOX was an exhibition with TROVE that drew upon the industrial history of Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham and the different interpretations of the word “toy”. There were plenty of hacked and reinterpreted toys, videos and performances:

July

I joined Freecode once again to perform a very improvised set at The reUNION in London.

I also showed off some generative self-portraits, entitled CóRM

August

Despite the pouring rain, BYOB Leicester happened. It was great to meet other digital artists from/based in my home town and was cool to meet hexler as well!

I then used my tech skills for something other than glitching and performing! For the week of 6-12 August I was working with 3D Native to help a group of under 18 year-olds to build apps for the Young Rewired State Festival of Code.

The team sadly didn’t win any prizes but it was amazing to see the skills of these youngsters, some of whom had started coding since age 6!

Finally, this month saw the world premier of Mittwoch aus Licht/Wednesday from Light. For the Orchester-Finalisten/Orchestra Finalists section, Birmingham Opera Company asked me to make a video with Ember Television that responded to a piece of audio. Here it is below:

September

I started this month in Manchester in the presence of many chiptune and 8-bit musicians. On 1st September I did my final gig with Freecode at the first SuperByte festival.

It was a very fun night, and I was happy to meet some of my internet friends, including Henry Homesweet.

I then revealed how you can use Pure Data to make jpgs, which was then used for Some Of My Favourite Songs

October

This month started the busiest 2.5 months of my life! I started October by hacking a toy for TROVE’s third birthday on October 12th.

The day after that the third annual BZF Independent Publishing Fair took place, which I helped to organise.

BZF 2012

Photo by BZF

It was the biggest BZF yet and was very well received by exhibitors and attendees! There’s lots of photos on Flickr.

I stayed up till 4am the following day (14th) to catch a plane to Arles, France to take part in Databit.me for a week. In addition to taking place in a very beautiful small town, the festival itself was amazing!

Databit.me - 18.10.2012

Lots of artists travelled from many corners of Europe for a week of performances and digital experiments. The festival saw me give a Pure Data tutorial, a lecture and I also did my first solo audio and visual performance. I’m planning many more, so watch this space!

November

With no time to rest, I jumped straight back into action! I gave a Pecha-Kucha style presentation about glitch art, my other work and being a Birmingham-based artist at “Brand” New Generation on the 1st.

"Brand" New Generation

Photo by Kalaboration

Despite there being a few technical glitches (oh, the irony!) the presentation was well received. You can watch a recording of it on YouTube

The next day it was time for another festival! Flip Festival is an annual animation and digital art festival that takes place in Wolverhampton. In 2011 I curated a small screening of glitch videos in preparation for GLI.TC/H 20111. This year I did much more! On the 2nd I gave another Pure Data workshop, followed the next day with the curation of another event! The People VS The Machine was a night of livecoding and live illustration, loosely themed around a cyborg uprising!

Shortly after this, on the 17th, FRAME_birmingham launched. The exhibition features artwork from 40 international artists exhibited at venues across the centre of Birmingham. Three images from Some of My Favourite Songs were chosen to be part of this:

Photo by Elly Clarke

The exhibition continues until February 2013, and all of the works are for sale.

I then launched Comic Sans Must Die, which was a short project that progressively destroys everyone’s most hated font!

Comic Sans Must Die

To round off this month I took part in the Midlands Experimental Moving Image Collective’s first exhibition.

December

December is usually a very quiet month, but thanks to the generosity of a friend (thanks, Jon!) I jetted out to Chicago for the third annual GLI.TC/H conference/festival/beerfest/gathering on 6-9th. You may remember that the festival stopped off at Amsterdam and Birmingham last year. This year it stuck to its Chicagoan roots for a very intense four-day event.

GLI.TC/H Fest 2112

Photo by Daniel Rourke

Gli.tc/H 2112 Chicago

Photo by Phillip Stearns

For the event I gave another Pure Data workshop (noticing a theme?) and I teamed up with Daniel Purvis to present, amongst other things, AlphabeNt. It’ll be out very soon, honest!

GLI.TC/H was great, and I already can’t wait to be back in Chicago!

2012 really did take me by surprise. I can’t pinpoint one particular moment that was amzing. I really loved being around all of my peers and friends and making lots of new ones. I wonder how 2013 will turn out…

The making of Comic Sans Must Die

Comics Sans Must Die ended some time during the week of GLI.TC/H 2112. Although it only lasted just over a month long, the creation of Comic Sans Must Die actually started in July 2010 when I stumbled across the Geomerative library for Processing as a way to manipulate SVG files. After a bit of fiddling with one of the example files I was able to take (almost) any SVG file and gradually reduce it over time.

Furby

This “destruction” is exactly what happens when you press Ctrl + L or Path > Simplify in Inkscape. It reduces the amount of nodes in the paths to simplify their construction, resulting, at times, in a very polygonal shape.

Processing Sketches

In the two years that followed I experimented with ways to export the on-screen destruction of the files to an animation (either gif or video file). I came across the gifAnimation library, which did exactly that. Soon after I was able to able to combine the two libraries to produce an animation of a SVG file being gradually destroyed. With the help of Richard Clifford this script was modified to also work on a folder full of SVGs. You can download both sketches from my Open Processing portfolio or below:

CSMD_multiple

Sketch for multiple files. Click to download

CSMD_single

Sketch for single file. Click to download

At the moment these sketches only work with Processing 1.5. They’ve been tested against gifAnimation from January 2008 and Geomerative rev 34 and were originally developed on Ubuntu 12.04. They can only be used on the Desktop, though the challenge is there for someone to make a version for web browsers.

Working with Comic Sans

With the Processing scripts in place I needed a way to destroy each individual glyph of Comic Sans. For this I turned to FontForge. Using the following command (on Linux) I was able to output each glyph to an SVG file:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]fontforge -lang=ff -c ‘Open($1); SelectWorthOutputting(); foreach Export(&quot;svg&quot;); endloop;’ Comic_Sans_MS.ttf[/sourcecode]

Of course, you can replace Comic_Sans_MS.ttf with any font file on your computer. Quite handy!

I then came across another another problem. The Processing scripts work by reducing the number of nodes until there are almost none. If there are very few to begin with then the process will be over very quickly and you’ll have a very short animation! Inkscape has the capability to add nodes, but so far this can only be done using the GUI. Luckily Inkscape Verbs came to the rescue. Using the script below I was able to mimic a user manually selecting the shape and adding more nodes:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]#!/bin/bash
for file in *.svg
do inkscape -f $file –select=path6 –verb ToolNode –verb EditSelectAll –verb org.ekips.filter.addnodes.noprefs –verb FileSave –verb FileClose
done[/sourcecode]
Save that to a file and run it inside a folder full of SVGs.

Node numbers

Before: 47 nodes. After: 1317 nodes.

For some reason all of the paths in the file were called path6. You may want to change that for your own SVG files. This script, and Verbs in general, have the drawback of always launching a GUI. The developers are aware of this and hopefully this will change in the future.

Destroy your own…

These sketches and scripts can be run on more than just font files. Any SVG that Geomerative can handle (not .ai files) can be used, even logos and jpg/gif photos converted to SVG.

Ubuntu Lego Facebook

Glitch Webcam

Glitch Webcam* is a small script that was developed during my time at Databit.me as part of the Open Camera project, which aimed at finding inexpensive ways to take images. Since then it has been in the MEMIC exhibition in November 2012 and usually makes an appearance wherever my laptop goes.

At only five lines of code and ~254 bytes, this script is a very quick way to glitch photos taken automatically by a webcam. The project was originally demoed using a Raspberry Pi/Raspbian and a digital photo frame, though problems with USB have prevented me from doing that since.

Below is the script, which requires you to have installed Streamer, feh (1.3.4 used), sed and xdotools:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]#!/bin/bash
mkdir output &amp; streamer -s 640×480 -o ./output/glitch_00000000.jpeg -t 1000000000000 -r 0.48 &amp;
sleep 1.8 ; feh –action1 &quot;;sed -i s/g/2/ %f&quot; -F -r ./output/ –force-aliasing -Z -Y –reload 1 –slideshow-delay 2 &amp;
while true ; do xdotool key –delay 200 1 ; done[/sourcecode]

The script works by using Streamer to capture sequentially-numbered images to a folder called “output”. feh is then used to display the image and also to run a sed command, thanks to the –action1 option. Actions in feh can only be run via a key press, so xdotools is used to automatically press a key (1). feh is then finally used to display each image full-screen.

It’s not the most efficient way of glitching from a webcam – e.g. you can get glitch plugins for Pure Data, Quartz Composer and other software – but as a small utility it works well. Also, it saves all of the images so you can make an animation out of it!

Glitch Webcam

*terribly unimaginative name, I know!

FRAME_Birmingham

FRAME_birmingham, the three-month long exhibition of artwork by national and international artists at venues across Birmingham, is now in its second month. Fade to Daft has been taken down from the Penfold Grange Suite of Hotel du Vin, but it can still be purchased online for £180. The next piece in that series, Plenty, can be seen in Birmingham Central Library, near the entrance to the lending library. The image is an image remix of the song Plenty by Rob Crow/Thingy.

Plenty at FRAME_birmingham

Installation of Plenty. Photo by Kevin Middleton/Clarke Gallery

FRAME_ birmingham

Plenty at Birmingham Central Library

 

If you’re looking for ways to spend your Christmas money you can purchase the work for £180 mounted and unframed or for £230 with a frame.

Chicago

It’s been over a week since GLI.TC/H finished and I’m still missing Chicago! I’ve now been to Chicago a total of three times. The first was as part of a two-month trip around North America in the Summer of 2006. I was only in Chicago for two days but I remember even then really enjoying what it had to offer. Big bean FTW! ❗

The following two times were for GLI.TC/H 2010 and GLI.TC/H 2112. Although I spent most of my time on those occasions indoors/at the event I really liked everything about the culture there. In many ways it’s like a second home…

Speaking of which, it appears that since 1993 Birmingham and Chicago have been Twin Towns/”international partner cities”. Anyone want to help link the two cities further i.e. send me there and/or bring people here? 😉

And now for pretty photos.

DSCF3274

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

GLI.TC/H 2112

I was in Chicago from 5-10th December for GLI.TC/H 2112. As with the previous two years of the festival it was a really intense ~week of workshops, performances, presentations, art, pizza and copious amounts of alcohol civilised social gatherings over wine and cheese cubes.

As stated previously, I gave a presentation about AlphabeNt (coming soon!) with Daniel Purvis joining in from Australia via Skype. I’ll be writing/talking a little bit more about this in the future, but for now you can watch the presentation on the GLI.TC/H Ustream channel (from 1:20:00 onwards). I also gave a workshop in Pure Data as part of DNMw3rkstati0n::.

Everything else I saw there – and boy, there was a lot of it! – was truly amazing and inspiring and really pushed the practice and theories associated with glitch art to newer places.

Above all, it was really awesome to be in the company of friends I made at the previous festivals and new ones I have made over the interwebnets. Here’s hoping for GLI.TC/H 2013!

Gli.tc/H 2112 Chicago

DeFunct/Refunct exhibition. Photo by Phillip Stearns

GLI.TC/H Fest 2112

Everybody VJ! Photo by Daniel Rourke

Gli.tc/H 2112 Chicago

Jason Soliday. Photo by Phillip Stearns

Gli.tc/H 2112 Chicago

D1THER_DØØM. Photo by Phillip Stearns

GLI.TC/H Fest 2112

James Connolly. Photo by Daniel Rourke

Massive thanks go to the GLI.TC/H Bots, Rosa Menkman, Jon Satrom and Nick Briz, for inviting me over and organising everything. ❗ ❗ ❗

Being a digital arts festival, there is no shortage of documentation. More photos can be found on Flickr.

DNMw3rkstati0n:: D1RTY N3W M3DI∆ thread at GLI.TC/H – Saturday 8th December

I’ll be taking part in the DNMw3rkstati0n:: as part of GLI.TC/H on Saturday 8th December from 10-12pm at High Concept Labs

Dirty New Media

GET: dowwwn && durty IRL && online wit teh DNMw3rkstati0n:: crewww @ GLI.TC/H 2112 in Chicago! The DNMw3rkstati0n:: is an open safe space/place/work{station|shop} set aside @ GLI.TC/H for enagaging eXXXperimentz in the arts of D1RTY N3W M3DI∆!

NEXT: BYOC (Bring Your Own Computers) TO: HIGH CONCEPT LABS (1401 W. Wabansia Chicago IL, 60642) && receive tutorials on D1RTY N3W M3DI∆ aestheticonceptechniques such as:

!!! Eric Fleischauer eXXXplains HOW TO: MAKE ANIMATED GIFs in the D1RTY N3W M3DI∆ (lyfe_)STYLES !!!
!!! Rick Silva + co-collaborators / co-conspirators eXXXplore EXPERIMENTAL 3D wit UNITY !!!
!!! stAllio eXXXploits HAUNTED MEDIA VIA GHOST FRAMES !!!
+
!!! Antonio Roberts (AKA hellocatfood) eXXXposes PURELY DIRTY SIDE OF PURE DATA !!!

THEN: wwwerkz created in / on / @ the DNMw3rkstati0n:: will be collected && displayed in via our tumblr: http://dirtynewmedia.tumblr.com + in our ☆ DNMw3rkstati0n OPENING + THREAD OUTPUT @ TRITRIANGLE (1550 N Milwaukee Ave Fl 3 Chicago, IL 60622) ON: ☽ SAT DEC 8 – 10 PM!

The ☆ DNMw3rkstati0n OPENING + THREAD OUTPUT @ TRITRIANGLE will also feature:
★ Arcangel Constantini’s Bondage/Bending/ project + jonCates’ DVD-RɔH!\/3, a bitcrushed archive of mini moments of D1RTY N3W M3DI∆ over the last 1337 years!

I’ll be doing a showing y’all how to use Pure Data for pure glitchyness and randomness. It’ll be happening alongside a workshop from stAllio.

Full Schedule can be found on the GLI.TC/H website or Dirty New Media Toolkit blog/FB.

AlphabeNt at GLI.TC/H – Friday 7th December

On Friday 7th December between 9-10pm at High Concept Labs I’ll be at GLI.TC/H in Chicago to give a short lecture on my explorations with glitch and language:

Alphabent

Antonio Roberts’ journey into glitches and their relationship to language started with the Dataface font-hacking project in 2010, the result of which is downloadable as a font from the Open Font Library. Using Daniel Purvis and Drew Taylor’s project AlphabeNt project as a launching point, Antonio Roberts will be discussing the relationship between computer language and human language, and how this relationship can be strengthened through mutation and curation, instead of deletion.

I’ll (hopefully) be joined by Daniel Purvis and/or Drew Taylor from Australia (!!!), where we’ll be talking briefly about the soon to be released book, AlphabeNt, which I wrote the foreword for.

See y’all there!

MEMIC – Warpaint!

A great time was had at the first salon for the Midlands Experimental Moving Image Collective on Friday 30th November, despite the cold!

Midlands Experimental Moving Image Collective

Midlands Experimental Moving Image Collective

The webcam that I was hoping to use didn’t work with the Raspberry Pi (something the team are aware of) so I had to use my laptop instead. This didn’t present any problems, but it would’ve been good to show off the Raspberry Pi! 😉 Here’s everything that the webcam capture over the three-hour exhibition:

More photos here