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)


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


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!