SuperByte 2014 – Glitch Art Workshop

I’ll be returning to SuperByte for their 2014 festival between 11-13th September, although this time I’ll be delivering a glitch art workshop instead of performing.


In this part theory, part practice workshop, hellocatfood will take you through a brief history of glitches, noise, and their impact on art, music and popular culture. The practical side of the workshop will delve into the common techniques utilised by glitch artists, such as hacking codecs, modifying hardware and repurposing commonly used software.

For the practical part of the workshop you’ll need a laptop/computer (Mac/Windows/Linux) with the following software installed: GIMP, Audacity & a good text editor such as Notepad++, TextEdit or Gedit.

Depending on time and interest from participants, we may be able extend software covered. If possible, please have installed: Processing, Pure Data, ffmpeg/libav, Imagemagick, Inkscape & Blender.

All of the software required for this workshop is freely available, and there’ll also be some toys on hand for you to experiment with.

If you haven’t got your ticket yet there’s still time to get cheap ones by supporting their Kickstarter campaign. Remember, if you pledge £45 you get some artwork from me as well!

Imperica – New Horizons

Directly after f(Glitch) I’ll be in London to take part in the New Horizons event from Imperica on 7th March, 09:00-18:00.


New Horizons brings a variety of people, disciplines, and interests together in one provocative, thought-provoking, enormously creative, and fun day. This will not be a day of death by PowerPoint. You’ll leave the day with new ideas, new visions, and new friends.

This event is ideal for professionals, academics and enthusiasts of film; advertising; design; digital technologies and their impact; art; and media.

I’ll be part of a joint presentation with Camillie Baker entitled Error Detection:

We expect perfection like never before. Whether it’s a slight hiccup on our digital TV, a spelling error in a press release or an incorrect fact in a tweet, there’s little room for manoeuvre. How is the “imperfect” recognised, exposed, used, and celebrated on both an artistic and intellectual level?

The event isn’t free (£87.77), but has some really amazing participants, so you should definitely buy a ticket.

BYOB Stony Brook

During my time in Stony Brook for f(Glitch) I’ll also be curating another BYOB event, taking place on March 4th!


You are invited to join us for the first Bring Your Own Beamer (BYOB) at Stony Brook University. Taking part is easy: just bring your beamer (digital projector) and something to be screened! BYOB is a series of one-night exhibitions where artists are invited to bring their own beamers and explore the medium of projection by creating a collaborative happening of moving light, sound and performance. On March 4th from 20:00 until 23:00 we will fill Union Ballroom and University Cafe at Stony Brook University with artists, each of them armed with their own beamer.

The simple terms and guidelines:

  • RSVP to hellocatfood in order to secure a spot.
  • Open to anyone, including those outside the university.
  • Bring your own beamer/projector, video playback device and extension cord.
  • We can provide power sockets and some extension cables.
  • Find your own spot on the day.
  • Use any surface to beam on, including ceilings and floors.
  • Places allocated on a first come, first served basis.
  • Participants are welcome to set up at University Ballroom and Cafe from 5pm.
  • Participants are responsible for the safety of their own equipment.
  • All ages welcome in the University Ballroom, but ages 21+ allowed in the University Cafe.

The University will have a limited amount of beamers that can be booked on the night. Please get in contact if you need one. These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.


I’ll be at Stony Brook University in NY from 2nd-6th March for f(Glitch):


f(Glitch), or The Function of Glitch, is an interlinked series of events that will include an art exhibit at the Simons Center, a theatrical production in the Wang Chapel , a musical concert at the Staller Recital Hall, and a series of colloquia at the Humanities Institute and the Simons Center. It will bring together a wide range of scientists, scholars, and artists to consider the utility of noise, for scientific and humanistic research as well as for artistic production. This is the fourth in a series of large-scale events produced by cDACT (Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture and Technology). Previous events considered sound, space, and data—each a central concept for digital culture—with a broad range of participants from the arts and sciences. We now turn to another crucial topic: error and noise.

The ideal imagined for digital technology is frictionless functionality. But systems have bugs, communication is riddled with distortion and channels are often noisy. Error is not a rare occurrence, but a given. Glitch, broadly defined, introduces unintentional events, artifacts, and interruptions. It can be visual or sonic; it can be imperceptible at ordinary levels, or physically painful to experience. There are glitches in programming, in communication, in architecture and infrastructure. Glitches are a glimpse into the hidden world of technology, exposing the seams in our digital infrastructure. Glitches can be distressing, as in the aesthetic phenomenon known as the uncanny valley, in which almost, but not-quite, accurate digital representations of the human face and form cause revulsion.

Yet these errors can be illuminating, creative and productive. Noise can make our systems stronger and more robust. Distortion can be aesthetically vibrant and revealing. Glitch reminds us that noise can be something to be embraced rather than eradicated, and that the unexpected is often unexpectedly useful.

I’ll be delivering a 30-minute lecture on 4th at Colloquia 1 from around 17:45. Come along, it’s all free!

VOID Artwork

After two weeks VOID came to a close on February 21st. There were samosas. For those that weren’t able to make it down, below are the artworks that I created for the exhibition.

+52°29’13.32″, -1°54’47.58″

+52°29'13.32", -1°54'47.58"

+52°28’47.73″, -1°54’31.91″

+52°28'47.73", -1°54'31.91"

+52°28’40.59″, -1°56’8.92″

+52°28'40.59", -1°56'8.92"

The title of each piece reflects the location that they (the original pictures) were taken at. These were then reduced in size and quality using a number of different methods.

Using very similar methods, I extended this concept for a performance for the opening night of exhibition. All of the audio and visual content was source from the location of the performance which was then fed back and manipulated using lots of analogue and digital tools.

+52°29’11.82″, -1°54’29.10″

The Tale Tellers – Drinking in LA

Towards the end of 2013 I was asked by Charlie Levine to submit a story to The Tale Tellers.

Artists, writers and thinkers have been invited to interpret their favourite stories, songs or poems via a series of images that represent key plot points within that story.

Each selection of images tells a complete tale.

After much deliberation I decided to tell the “tale” of my alltime favouritest song in the world ever, Drinking in LA by Bran Van 3000.


Go check out the tale in all it’s occasionally-animated glory whilst listening to the song:

y’know they’ve had, like, three more albums out since that song, yeah?

SuperByte 2014 Kickstarter Campaign

After a very successful 2nd year SuperByte Festival will be back for 2014 from September 11-13th.


Just like last year they’re making use of a Kickstarter campaign to raise initial funds to ensure the festival can go ahead. With £1890 already raised they’re looking to raise £2500 by March 5th. By pledging your support you’re essentially getting cheap early-bird tickets and a whole load of swag goodies! By pledging £45 you get:

  • An Early Bird Weekend Ticket
  • Live at SuperByte 2013 album download code
  • SuperByte 2014 album download code
  • SuperByte sticker set
  • T-shirt designed by pixel art legend KeFF
  • *drumroll* Exclusive set of 4 glitch art postcards designed by me!

Awesome Paint!

Awesome Paint!

Awesome Paint!

Awesome Paint!

Awesome Paint!

I designed these cards specifically for the SuperByte kickstarter campaign, so if you want ’em and all the other awsomeness go and spend your money now!

Constructing Come Heavy Sleep

Back in December 2013 I had the joy of working on the Come Heavy Sleep production by Kindle Theatre. The story is loosely based around Othello (I started in a production of this back in 2009):

Come Heavy Sleep is a passion-fuelled murder story that takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s Othello. This performance tests ideas that will eventually develop into a large-scale ensemble spectacle, fronted by the band The Come Heavies with bold choreography, chopped-up narrative and stunning visuals. The music moves from 16th Century Lute to Noise Pop into Industrial Grindcore and 1950′s-style romantic ballad.

The two performances at The REP Studio acted as a kind of development snapshot for the piece (the previous snapshot took place in 2012) which I believe will grow larger and go on tour in the future (I could be making this up).

I was approached by the group to provide visual projections that would accentuate the performance. They explained to me that they wanted to recreate the night club atmosphere, something which colourful visuals could facilitate. One source of inspiration for them was the opening title sequence to Enter The Void:

Recreating this was the easy part, as rapid colour font and font changes are very easy. In fact, many of the visuals were fairly easy to create, the challenge came from making them reproducable and synchronised to the performance. Unlike my approach to doing visuals for live music, I had much less space to improvise. Of course I was able to use my creative input when devising the visuals, but during the performance itself I had to be sure that the visuals were executed precisely.

For this challenge (and pretty much every other live visuals challenge) I used Pure Data. My approach to constructing the patches was to fully construct each scene in the patch and then use a series of triggers, in this case manual key presses, to advance to the next section.

I quickly learnt that having a “back” button is just as important as things sometimes do go wrong!

Fading out

The first challenge was fading out a scene. When using video files this is easily accomplished by setting the values of [colorRGB] to 0 or to the colour of the background. However, dealing with 3D objects is slightly different. I could change the [colourRGB] to match the background, but if a [world_light] is present and lighting is turned on, the shading of the objects could potentially still be seen.

The solution here was to add an [alpha] channel to the objects and instead gradually bring that down to 0.


Patch switching

For reasonson mainly concerning render chains, particly velocities and buffers, I decided against building one monolithic patch to use throughout the performance. The only other option was to do live patch switching! *gulp*

To switch patches seemlessly I first set my desktop background to black. It was the blackout colour so, y’know, it made sense. When the scene ended and all the objects had faded to black I very quickly quit Pure Data (in turn reveleaing my black desktop), started the new patch and created the black, borderless [gemwin].


What the audience sees when I switch patches. NINJA!

This was a potentially very risky thing to do. Each time I opened the program the window could have either extended to the other screen or opened on the other screen. Luckily this didn’t happen, but I would be interested to know of a method of ensuring it never will.


The final challenge I faced concerned switching buffers in Pure Data. The Kindle Theatre team required me to recreate the animation you see when you complete the game of good ol’ Solitaire but using stars instead of cards. Recreating this animation in Pure Data was fairly simple. By sending the [buffer 1( message to [gemwin] before its creation you are able to have a trail of the stars be left behind as it moves. If you have Pure Data (extended) you can even try the code out yourself.

Come Heavy Sleep

Of course, life isn’t always as easy as this. I faced a problem because this scene came immediately after the one before it with no time for patch switching. Additionally, due to the way the previous patch was constructed, the [buffer ( needed to be set to 2, which meant I couldn’t fade between them and still have the trailing effect.

Come Heavy Sleep

What this meant is I had to retire the use of this effect in favour of a different one. The stars still moved in the same way but instead of having a (semi) permanent trail the stars had a shadow that followed them:

Come Heavy Sleep

Perhaps the original effect could’ve been recreated using the [repeat] object, but with limited time I could not explore this possibility. There doesn’t appear to be any plans to add live buffer switching in Pure Data/GEM (I’m not even sure if it’s technically possible), so for now it seems you have to pick either one buffer or two from the start and stick with it 🙁


Kindle Theatre reiterated several times that they wanted me to feel at ease and just do whatever the hell it is I do regularly. I quite admire this relaxed attitude and thank them for giving me a lot of creative control. Despite this, I really enjoyed having a new set of challenges, which has given me a lot of think about in terms of constructing visuals for use with actors.

I also learnt that I’d make a terrible DJ.