Imperica – Copyright, Culture, and Creativity

Imperica recently released the first issue of its digital magazine. I’m happy to have contributed an article called Copyright, Culture, and Creativity. The article focuses on how large commercial corporations appropriate and exploit internet cultures and aesthetics.

Beginning to understand copyright on even a basic level can be a career in itself and take years of study. Just as no users of technology read the terms of service, no artist spends their time studying the Statute of Anne in order to understand Copyright. And why should they? We’re in the business of creating art, not law.

It is this naeivtiy and lack of understanding which corporations, with their teams of copyright lawyers, can exploit in order to push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Artists, which includes anyone creating anything (yes, even a tweet is your work of art), do not have the luxury of being able to call upon the advice of expensive legal teams every time they create an artwork.

One such example of this exploitation is Left Shark. This high profile case centers around a meme born out of Katy Perry’s performance at the 2015 Superbowl. The performance featured Perry performing with dancers in costumes, including two sharks positioned either side of her. Viewers noticed that the shark on the left appeared out of sync with the other one, appearing even slightly drunk. The internet loved this and quickly Left Shark was born, with the memes appearing almost immediately.

It’s a good article to read to gain a greater understanding of the concepts behind No Copyright Infringement Intended.

The magazine also features some great articles and essays from Philip Ellis, Catherine Young, Ana Mendes, and more (they’re also looking for contributions for issue two. It’s available to buy now for £/$/€2.

OpenGLAM – Copyright, free culture and art

OpenGLAM published a feature on my Permission Taken exhibition on their site on 9th May. It talks not only about the exhibition but also on the need to communicate issues surrounding copyright in a variety of ways:

Remix of Cathode Ray Oscilloscope by Carla Gannis

Remix of Cathode Ray Oscilloscope by Carla Gannis

Copyright is an incredibly important law that can have massive implications on individual artists and the cultural sector as a whole. Unfortunately, it isn’t until it affects us negatively that we begin to seriously consider it. Legal cases such as the estate of Marvin Gaye versus Robin Thicke , Katrijn van Giel versus Luc Tuymans, and earlier examples such as Art Rogers versus Jeff Koons, and TufAmerica versus Beastie Boys show that the law can negatively affect creativity. If we allow this behaviour to continue we risk entering into a permission culture where even being inspired by an artist can have dangerous consequences.

Click through to read the whole of the article. The Permission Taken exhibition ends on 30th May

Libre Graphics magazine issue 2.4, Capture

The latest issue of Libre Graphics magazine (and the final issue in volume two) is now out and available for reading and purchasing.


This issue looks at Capture, the act of encompassing, emulating and encapsulating difficult things, subtle qualities. Through a set of articles we explore capture mechanisms, memory, archiving and preservation of volatile digital information, physicality and aesthetization of data.

On page 12 you’ll find an article from me about surveillance culture.

Evasive Maneuvers


We are obsessed with capture. On an aesthetic level we have been attempting to capture aesthetic qualities of things for thousands of years through drawing, painting and, relatively recently, photography. Advances in digital technology now allow to capture more than just aesthetic qualities of a thing. Now we can measure things, analyse them, and make decisions based on statistics and quantifiable data as opposed to qualitative personal opinions. Through this we have gained an incredible insight into the world around us, and can study everything from weather patterns, genetics of species and so much more. This gigantic planet and beyond now seems so much more comprehensible, now that we can understand it in terms of numbers and patterns.

Developments in digital technology have turned the focus increasingly onto the individuals. We want to understand not just how an environment evolves, but also the people that move through it. We want to know how they interact with it, why they do so, what their intent might be, what they might do next, what their emotions are and study little incidental quirks that could reveal more than a person intended. Like weather and climate data before it, the hope is that by collecting enough data about individuals we can begin to understand them more, and make predictions about them.

If you’ve been following my work this year you’ll see that surveillance culture has been a big part of it. I curated an exhibition at Vivid Projects called Stealth in June and the recent work I’ve done with Lucy Hutchinson echoes the works of artists like Adam Harvey and looks at ways to work with and against face detection software. I feel talking about this is very important, especially as we’re being increasingly watched by our devices and our Governments.

Read the whole piece in Libre Graphics magazine, which you can read or purchase from the website.

Multimedia Programming with Pure Data

A new book by Bryan Chung, Multimedia Programming with Pure Data was recently published by Packt Publishing.

Multimedia Programming with Pure Data

Multimedia Programming with Pure Data

Multimedia Programming with Pure Data

Despite it being a big part of Pure Data Extended, GEM – and making visuals in PD – doesn’t get as much attention as audio processing. Whereas sound-makers have resources such as Loadbang and excellent tutorials from Obiwannabe, visual artists have little access to such a comprehensive resource, which can be a bit off-putting for new users. With that in mind I was more than happy to be a reviewer for this book that focuses almost entirely on GEM and making visuals in PD.

Although it is definitely suited to new users this book does get quite complex in later chapters where it begins to detail camera tracking, OpenCV and particle generators. I even learnt a couple of things!

Most of the tutorials are written to work on all operating systems (Linux, Mac and Windows) though some instructions, such as installing libraries, aren’t always covered. That could be another book in itself!

Get yourself a copy now!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Libre Graphics Magazine 2.1 – Localisation/Internationalization

I’m happy to announce that I’ll have a regular column in volume two of Libre Graphics magazine, starting with the first issue, Localisation/Internationalization

Libre Graphics Magazine 2.1

This February, Libre Graphics Magazine has reached a major milestone. We have published and shipped issue 2.1, the first number in our second volume. Titled “Localization/Internationalisation,” this issue explores the unique problems of non-latin type, the hyper-localisation of custom clothing patterns and international visual languages, among other topics.

Launched at FOSDEM, this issue marks the beginning of our second volume of publication, and heralds our move towards an increasingly critical slant. Exploring not just how Free/Libre Open Source Software can be used to create high quality art and design, in volume 2, we see a growing emphasis on the cultural and social issues around F/LOSS and Free Culture. With 2.1, we discuss issues of regionality. We are currently seeking submissions for 2.2, “Gendering F/LOSS,” which will revolve around gendered identity and work in F/LOSS and Free Culture.

We invite both potential readers and submittors to download, view, write, pull, branch and otherwise engage. We hope, in the coming year and with the help of a growing community, to further push the work of F/LOSS art, design and discussion.

The Transnational Glitch

My first column focuses on the international language of glitch and digital art.

Libre Graphics Magazine 2.1 - The Transnational Glitch

Here’s an excerpt:

American English is the common language of computing and the internet. That’s quite unfortunate when there are so 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 to- wards 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.

Libre Graphics magazine is free to download from their website or can be purchased – which I recommend – for $12 CAD plus postage.

About Libre Graphics magazine

Libre Graphics magazine (ISSN 1925-1416) is a print publication devoted to showcasing and promoting work created with Free/Libre Open Source Software. Since 2010, we have been publishing work about or including artistic practices which integrate Free, Libre and Open software, standards, culture, methods and licenses.


AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z

AlphabeNt, the book which I wrote the foreword for and spoke briefly about at GLI.TC/H 2112, is out now for either $30AUD or $70AUD (special edition)

AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z presents the 26 characters of the Latin alphabet as you haven’t seen them before: broken, distorted and aesthetically corrupted using digitally destructive techniques not usually found in the designers handbook. Co-authors Drew Taylor and Daniel Purvis created the characters using audio editing software such as Audacity, using standard text editors, by overloading flatbed document scanners, shaking iPhones and kicking computer tables.

Glitch art, and offshoot ‘databending’, is not unusual and is often featured in modern design. However, AlphabeNt presents one of the first professionally published glitch art books specifically designed to take use of glitch techniques in conjunction with the best modern digital printers and specialist paper stocks.





Paper sponsor, K.W.Doggett Fine Papers, provided K.W.Doggett Curious Metallics Digital – Ice Gold 300gsm stock for the printing of the cover and a set of 26 cards featuring the characters from the book. Printed by Kwik Kopy Norwood using an advanced HP Indigo digital printer, the characters from the book are brought to life through the combination of ink, metallic paper and are provided depth as they shimmer under light. This book demonstrates the power and flexibility of digital print techniques paired with the correct paper stock.

Says Daniel Purvis, founder of Adelaide-based publishing house Stolen Projects and co-author of AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z:

I’m extremely excited to present this collection of corrupted digital characters. It has always been the intent of Drew and I to print our digital experiments for two reasons. First, to give legitimacy to the digitally corrupt artwork we’ve created, which is so often overlooked on the electronic screens. And second, to demonstrate the power and weight of print in an age that relies so heavily on digital techniques.

AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z is available as a standalone book for $30AUD, featuring foreword by British glitch aficionado Antonio Roberts of, introduction by Daniel Purvis and Drew Taylor, and process description accompanying each of the characters.

A Special Edition of AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z, extremely limited to only 26 copies, is also available for $70AUD. The Special Edition features the full set of 26 cards, the AlphabeNt: Experiments from A–Z book, packaged in a special handmade box custom designed by Adelaide-based Chasdor Bindery.

Books will be available for purchase at launch and via Stolen Projects website as of Tuesday 26 February.

A special launch video has also been created by British glitch artist Antonio Roberts. Roberts remixes the entire set of 26 AlphabeNt characters produced by Drew Taylor and Daniel Purvis into a 1 minute 18 second animation backed by the music of Australian glitch musician Ten Thousand Free Men & Their Families (

N** A******** article

Earlier this year Ben Rackstraw asked me to write an article about the New Aesthetic for an upcoming issue of TBB (Tits Brains Balls/This Bourgeois Battalion). The issue isn’t out yet but my article has been published on his blog. Here’s an excerptthe full article:

New Aesthetic

When discussion around the New Aesthetic were taking place I initially took a stance against engaging in the conversations or reading anything about it, even refusing to read the original Tumblr blog by James Bridle or the essay by Bruce Sterling. This defiance was at times difficult as the New Aesthetic was invading all of my internet hangouts such as Twitter, Facebook and various mailing lists that I’m subscribed to (CRUMB, netbehaviour). I was even sent links to the essay and site directly, the assumption being that the ideas presented in it related to my interests. They were somewhat correct in assuming this, but my defiance still persisted.

Despite its sudden popularity The New Aesthetic is not actually very new. Bridle’s site was created on May 6th 2011, but it had gone largely unnoticed until Sterling’s essay was published. This sudden rise in popularity is similar to the way that memes develop. The rise (and fall) of a meme can be mapped out into very distinct stages:

  1. An original idea is formed and posted onto the internet
  2. The idea expands and develops
  3. People start to do their own interpretations of this
  4. The spike in popularity
  5. Repetition without context, alongside heavy criticism
  6. Overuse
  7. The fall of the meme and disappearance from the internet

I was less interested in taking part in the hype surrounding the meme, and more interested in its long-lasting effects on art culture. It could, like many memes, have its 15 minutes of fame and then disappear, or it could actually have a long-lasting effect on the arts in general.

When I finally relented and began to read the essays and resources surrounding the New Aesthetic I noticed an immediate problem: that of defining what the New Aesthetic actually is. Bridle, on the New Aesthetic blog, provides a vague definition on what the New Aesthetic is, as well as explaining briefly what his motivations are:

Since May 2011 I have been collecting material which points towards new ways of seeing the world, an echo of the society, technology, politics and people that co-produce them.

The New Aesthetic is not a movement, it is not a thing which can be done. It is a series of artefacts of the heterogeneous network, which recognises differences, the gaps in our overlapping but distant realities.

This definition still leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which is a problem certainly echoed by many people, evidenced by the plethora of attempts by others, Sterling included, to define what the New Aesthetic actually is. A search on the ever-reliable Twitter revealed definitions and interpretations of the New Aesthetic that ranged from the insightful to the humourous to the downright idiotic. Some of my favourites include:

That last Tweet echoes one of my main problems with the New Aesthetic, and indeed any attempt to provide a definitive definition of any art movement that is still evolving: The ideas that the New Aesthetic are based on are already old by the time they are published. New artwork, technologies and theories appear each day, and with the always-on nature of the Internet, where a lot of this art/content is disseminated, it is futile to attempt to create a catch-all terminology to describe what has been produced and also what is to be produced in the future.

Bridle posts artefacts to the blog in an attempt to clarify what artwork could be classed as falling under the New Aesthetic. Aside from the very act of appearing on the blog alongside other artefacts, the artefacts are posted without explanation as to why they fall under this definition. The hope is surely to let the content speak for itself but, for me, it just led to more confusion. Is the New Aesthetic about digital art, hacking, glitch art or pervasive art? Is it a combination of all of them or none of them? Is the New Aesthetic, broadly speaking, everything that is new?

It seems Bridle is the only one that truly understands exactly what the New Aesthetic is, and that’s why it comes across as a personal project. The site and its blog posts are his attempts at comprehending what he sees. This may help him to see the digital/hacked/glitched world in a clearer way, but without explanation it just leads to more confusion for everyone else.

It is ironic that by the time you read this the New Aesthetic may have (hopefully) died and, like most memes, disappeared completely from our mindsets and browsing sessions.

Imperica has collated a great list of writing around this topic, should you feel inclined to learn more about it.