SuperByte 2013 moments

SuperByte 2013 happened a couple of weeks ago and I have to say it was one of the most exciting festivals/events that I’ve performed at! It was great to meet lots of old friends, make plenty of new ones and discover lots of new music! Thanks to everyone involved for making it happen again!

The festival made a short video recap, should you not remember how awesome it was 😉

And there’s plenty of photos, these below by Simon Thelwell

Anamanaguchi at SuperByte

Sabrepulse at SuperByte

Meneo at SuperByte

Photo by Jon Blenky

Photo by Jon Blenky

Same again next year? 😉

Excerpts from a conversation with Erik H Rzepka

Conversation started Tuesday
17/09/2013 22:52
Erik H Rzepka

hey antonio! was at _ģ̶Ł̶1̶ɫ̶C̶ʮ̶_Δ┌┼- this weekend, was interested in ur video piece – how did you start as an artist and then get into making pieces like that one? what can you tell me about it thematically and how it relates to ur practice in general?

17/09/2013 23:10
Antonio Roberts
Hey Erik!

The process of making that video was actually a bit of a weird one

hey! sweet, i’m intrigued

It started after I made the decision to use Linux exclusively in 2008. I then became interested in glitch art in 2009. Shortly after that I became interested in ways of generating randomness from something very orderly. I tried writing a script to do random edits of a video file and failed miserably. Fast forward to 2013 and my coding and Linux skills are much better so I decided to revisit the script.

Around the same time Gabriel Shalom introduced me to the work of Erik Bunger and the piece that my video was inspired by, [Variations on a Theme by Casey & Finch]

In fact, mine is just a reinterpretation. So, I finally had a reason to use that script. If you read on my website you’ll see that there’s four different versions of this that each try to replicate the sound of a skipping CD.

And I think this relates to my practice because it’s me trying to be different (as always!). It’s very easy to just glitch a jpg and call it (glitch) art. I want to explore the concept of glitch, not just the visual aspect, which sometimes results in me emulating a glitch style, rather than causing an actual glitch.

I also like writing programs which assume the role of the artist. A lot of the work I do is the direct output of a program. Just to see what happens when more control is handed over to a different set of rules

so would you say each of your projets is interested in re-asking the question of what a glitch is, taking it to a new space? how in general does that fit with programming/code? also, what were you doing pre-2009 before you got into glitch (and maybe what got you into it)

I think glitch (art) is such a broad subject that defining it isn’t really possible. It encompasses randomness, generative art, mistakes, errors, forced errors, hacking and so much other stuff which each have their own offshoots and sub genres. So, I don’t really want to get an answer to “what is a glitch?” but I do want to explore how its concepts can influence other genres and methods of working, which is why I agreed to write the foreword for AlphabeNt

In that book you have two very talented designers/illustrators – Drew Taylor and Daniel Purvis – ditch all of their precise training to see how a loss of control can influence their practice

And so how can it influence other areas etc. For example, could it go into writing, dance, composing etc (yes – and it’s already been done in various ways)

romeo3

Shakespeare.txt.jpg by Tom Scott

nice man i really connect with a lot of this… maybe yoou can show me a few examples of types of projects you’ve done at this point, that maybe show the variety of places in which you’ve taken the glitch concept etc

Probably best example is I Am Sitting in a Room

Glitching text/symbols as a way to explore how humans and computers see text.

Comic Sans Must Die: A way to make something better through reducing it gradually to nothing – Iterative design that is degenerative. And I hate Comic Sans!

c a t

yeah this is great! you seem to like a kind of textual/technical minimalism. What draws you to that type of approach vs a more chaotic “glitch” style?

Chaotic stuff gets a bit repetitive after the 9000th time

i see – so being overtly repetitive in some way “addresses” that?

By repetitive I mean that I’m just so bored of seeing datamoshing and jpg glitches. I know that to those doing it it will be new to them, and so I support their initial explorations into glitch art. But for me, as a viewer and curator, I grow tired of it, especially when there’s little context to it. For example, glitch porn. Although that’s a whole other discussion right there!

The closest I'll ever get to doing glitch porn

The closest I’ll ever get to doing glitch porn

i do see what you mean… i might be partly guilty of that haha, that style hehe but i def agree with the “oh here’s a glitch technique” and it all looks hte same etc – yawn

I don’t think less of anyone that does it – I do it myself – but it’s all about context and why/when to use it

do you find in minimalism though an inherent repetitiveness – almost an aestheticization of it? i say that in the best way there’s something interesting about how it plays the technical reproduction game explicitly. Take Donald Judd – his blocks – kind of reproducing the identical products of industry

judd

Untitled by Donald Judd

 

instead of say, the “personal” expressionism of a pollock, he kinda says, this is our world, technical garbage, “aestheticizing” or making an art practice out of repetition

Well, all of what I and many glitch artists do is process-based. So yeah, repetition is a big part of it

A lot of the time I’m less interested in the actual output, more the process behind the work. So, I like glitching svg files because the process of glitching them is easier to comprehend and manipulate than a jpg. Or: I can write xml, I can’t write binary

Penguin - Delete 8 Penguin - Replace 8 with 1

i dig it man don’t hear too much about using svg – but as you said, there’s so many other fomrats!! why do the same crap – for me i’ve also ventured into pdf, swf, mesh file formats etc – so many places to go really – we need more ppl probing those boundaries for sure!!

I’d be interseted in seeing your file format explorations!

Ghosting Volume #3, 28th September

On Saturday 28th September some of my video work will be displayed alongside works by Adam Ferris, Nick Briz, Jamie Boulton and Andrew Benson at Ghosting Volume 3 in Los Angeles.

ghosting

I’ll be showing some of my oldest pieces, which focus more on computer generated imagery, alongside some newer pieces that explore hardware-based imagery. If I can stay awake till 4am I’ll be doing a short video introduction too! If you’re in LA get yourself over to it.

Lumiére, 20th September

On Friday 20th September the Dark, Eerie and Manic remix video by myself and Alex Juno will be showing at Bloc Projects in Sheffield as part of Lumiére from 18:30 (Facebook event link).

Lumiére Screening

Lumière‘s focus is on the concept of light. Light and time; light and vision; light and being; light and perception. Light is something so simple, yet indefinite and vital. It allows us to see; it can expose and reveal but also hide and conceal; it can create different moods; it can be used, manipulated, obscured or enhanced by us but it is always there.

This travelling film screening then makes its way to Power Lunches in London on October 8th (Facebook event link), with more screenings to be announced in the future. Keep an eye on the Screenings page for up-to-date information. I think they’re still looking for other venues, so if your city/venue *cough*Birmingham*cough* wants to host one get in touch lumiere.screening@gmail.com

Paper Stages

Some new text artwork will be featured in the Paper Stages publication from Forest Fringe. It is less of something to be read, but instead performed:

paperstages

[Forest Fringe] have created a performance space built not of bricks and mortar but paper and ink; a festival contained in the pages of a book, each page of which is a different instruction-based performance for you to perform. Some you’ll need to do on your own, some as part of a group; some may take place in your own home, others out on the streets of the city.

The publication will be launched on Thursday 12th September at Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, UK, as part of the September 4 Days Festival. You can, um, take part in the publication by picking up a copy from the gallery. You may want to take along an old camera 😉

paperstages

SuperByte 2013, 13-14 September

SuperByte is, at time of writing, only two days away! In anticipation of this awesomeness I made a little preview video, with music by HarleyLikesMusic.


(I should’ve probably put a flashing images warning in there)

Since I last wrote about it the line-up has changed/grown to include: 8 Bit Weapon, Anamanaguchi, Broken Bit, Comptroller, Eat Rabbit, gwEm, KeFF, Meneo, Mizkai, Nordloef, Organ Freeman, Sabrepulse, Shirobon, Skip Cloud, TDK, Ultrasyd and Whitely.

In addition to myself, there’ll be visuals from Invaderbacca, Jayson H, LastKnight ,Rosa Menkman and Spectrum

I’ll also have a couple of prints from Some of My Favourite Songs on display.

superbyte2013_remix

Still haven’t got your tickets? What are you waiting for?! Get lucky! Get them now!

_ģ̶Ł̶1̶ɫ̶C̶ʮ̶_Δ┌┼-, 12-14th September

In Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada from 12-14th September? Some of my recent work will be exhibited alongside some great artists at _ģ̶Ł̶1̶ɫ̶C̶ʮ̶_Δ┌┼-, an exhibition curated by jonCates, at Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum.

gl1tch-us-remix

“Glitch Art With jonCates” is a thematic symposium taking place in Regina, Saskatchewan with visiting artist, Jon Cates (Chicago). The symposium, presented by Soil Media Suite, will include live and remote participation with artists and researchers working with glitch phenomena. The symposium will also include a production workshop, panel presentations, artist talks,University outreach, live performance, remote presentations utilizing NUMBERS.FM, Tumblr, and Facebook, interpretive projects and receptions.

If, like me, you cannot physically be there fear not! In additional to the IRL things there’ll also be not-so-IRL things happening online via: HTTP://NUMBERS.FM, https://www.facebook.com/GL1tch.4RT and http://gl1tch-4rt.tumblr.com

Feedback Symphony

The first output from a visuals jam session with Gabriella Gardosi/Gaia Gaoi whilst she was in the UK. She drew abstract forms using the Tagtool which I then uikdusahdisalhg4 messed with using a Panasonic WJ-AVE5 video mixer.

It was really enjoyable to see how these two styles of art worked with or against each other. There’ll definitely be more experimenting in the near future!

Thanks to The Bull’s Head in Moseley for letting us use their space. Music is Tensor by Carbon Based Lifeforms.

Feedback Symphony

Feedback Symphony

Feedback Symphony

Young Rewired Art

From 5th – 11th August I was a mentor for Young Rewired Art, which is a newly devised offshoot project from the same people that run the Young Rewired State Festival of Code. The project, which ran alongside the main festival, had very similar aims in the way that it explored the potential of digital technology:

[Young Rewired Art] will explore how digital media can influence our next generation of musicians, visual artists, dancers, producers & actors etc and enable young people to showcase and develop their creative practice online. It would also enable young people to use technology creatively and explore the relationship it has to mainstream arts and culture.

To me, this represented a chance to introduce young minds to the never-ending pain everlasting joy of glitch art, glitch aesthetics and generally making programs and hardware do things they weren’t designed to do!

The week of activities was split between sessions led by myself and Nikki Pugh with a presentation/demonstration at the weekend. I used my first session to introduce the group to exactly what glitch art is, and to a wider extent how you can make art with code. Most of the group – which consisted of people from creative backgrounds such as graphic design, photography and performance poetry – hadn’t knowingly encountered glitch art before and hadn’t put much thought into using error-driven techniques as part of their practice. In my first session with them I set to change that!

Young Rewired Art

This is other photos by Nikki Pugh

 

I wouldn’t be too far-fetched in saying that a lot of glitch art centers around film and animation, something you only have to look through tumblr too see. However, the concepts of glitch art, namely using error as a means of producing art, extend beyond film and animation and can move into writing, performance, architecture and just about any other field!

Rhet and Link

One of the videos I showed the group was one of the Caption Fail videos from Rhet and Link. In these videos they exploit the failings of YouTube’s automatic caption feature and produce a comedy sketch that doesn’t really make much sense but is at least quite entertaining!

Translation Party

yra_translation_party

The other text-based glitch-alike piece I showed was the Translation Party website. This “service” recursively translates a phrase from English to Japanese and back again until it finds an equilibrium where both translations mean the same thing. By doing this it reveals that not even computers can perfectly translate a phrase from one language to another, perhaps because it doesn’t take into account the meaning and intent of the phrase, just the words themselves.

This, of course, isn’t something unique to computer-driven translations. Some phrases and colloquialisms do not translate between languages or even locations, and some words have no equivalents in other languages. Perhaps this is a human communication glitch?

Glitch in Popular Culture

I also showed the group glitch art’s influence on popular culture. It could be argued that glitch art hasn’t reached the mainstream media yet. I don’t necessarily believe that to be true, and it’s a topic which has been discussed at length elsewhere. Regardless of this, there have been many high-profile uses of glitch art over the years. Rosa Menkman has already created a brilliant playlist of Glitches in Popular Culture, which hopefully demonstrates that it is something that has mainstream appeal (if that’s what you’re aiming for!)

Tutorials

With the demonstrations and presentations now complete the group set out to use these newly acquired skills to create, well, something! I taught the group how to glitch jpg and bmp files using a combination of a text editor (Notepad++) and GIMP, and then how to databend images files using Audacity.

Young Rewired Art

Young Rewired Art

Young Rewired Art

I would’ve progressed onto the basics of glitch videos but it’s a very lengthy topic and can get messy when you take into account the variables such as codecs, containers and operating systems. For anyone beginning video glitching I highly recommend the Glitch Codec Tutorial by Nick Briz and the Datamosh tutorials by Bob Weisz.

Presentations

The rest of the week was spent producing a finished piece to be presented in some way or another at the main Festival of Code on the weekend. They used the skills learnt from myself and Nikki to produce a video and installation piece that focussed on their experiences of digital technology affecting their lives.

Young Rewired Art

Young Rewired Art

Videos of the final pieces have yet to be uploaded – and I’ll update this post when they are- butOne of the final pieces is below. Also do check out the main Young Rewired Art tumblr blog for detailed thoughts from all of the participants, including this one from Sophie Lloyd

As a young adult in the 21st century I consider myself rather prolific with technology. I can navigate Microsoft word these days without crying or throwing my laptop at the wall. However I always assumed that should I attempt any kind of hacking or data corruption myself, it would be like watching my Mum trying to manoeuvre her Facebook account. Well not anymore! Taking part in Young Rewired ART has changed my opinion on the subject. I have discovered the exciting prospects of computer hacking, and what it could mean for the future of my identity as an artist.

Same again next year?