What is Glitch?

an argumentative thread in the glitches flickr group.
There are purists who insist that only their methods are truly glitches.



his seems to me like the argument between uptown music (serialism) and downtown music (chance operations) in the 60s. The results sounded alike, at a certain point of complexity, even though one claimed to be strictly deterministic and the other strictly aleatoric. (Well, they weren’t always strict, to their benefit.)


It’s also hard to see how error continues to be “error” once we conscientiously attempt to induce it. When I hit the 20th hex pair in a Huffman table in the header of a JPEG, it’s true that I’m putting an “error” in the JPEG file and the results will be unpredictable, or even damage the file beyond readability (for some applications). On the other hand, I’m repeating what might previously have been an accident with every intention of getting a desired result--even if I don’t know exactly what it will be.


I’m more interested in the culture of glitch than in the purity of its definition, anyhow. But if you want to be strict about it, only “found” works (Glitch Safari) provide true errors. The rest is just conscientiously pursued uncertainty.



I built a web-glitcher using processing that would generate gifs of successive glitches. I never put it online. I stopped development when my 3rd child was born in May 2014 and didn’t continue after that. Tsk tsk. I need to finish that off.





PImage I;int i,x,y,w=900,h=450;void setup(){size(w,h);I=loadImage("m.jpg");}
void draw(){for(i=0;i++<w*h;)set((x=i%w)^mouseX,(y=i/w)^mouseY,I.get(x,y));}



http://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/25562 - various image processing techniques (not glitchy per se)


http://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/39584 - interesting presentation of image







http://danieltemkin.com/Tutorials/ - not Processing, although provide link to http://chipmusic.org/forums/topic/772/databending-in-processing/


modifies an image, saves it, loads it, repeat
I’ve adapted this for a project.
There’s nothing particularly “Processing-y” about this project. Processing is used to display the image once modified and (successfully) re-loaded, but the “real” work is just random bit-twiddling.
It could be just just as well in pure-javascript with data-URIs.
Actually, it could probably be done FASTER with data-URIs as there’d be no reloading of the images.
Plus, all the previous images could be stored on-page (in-memory)
and combined into a jpeg at the end, if one wished.
Yes -- could be done with Processing, as well - however, once of the JPEG handling libraries throws and untrappable exception when the JPEG file has been datamoshed beyond recoginition.
The hope is that this is trappable in javascript.



PImage a;  // Declare variable "a" of type PImage

void setup() {
  byte[] data=loadBytes("picture.jpg");
  a = loadImage("picture.jpg");

void draw() {
  byte[] data=loadBytes("picturee.jpg");
  for(int i=0;i<4;i++) // 100 changes
    int loc=(int)random(128,data.length);//guess at header being 128 bytes at most..
  a = loadImage("picturee.jpg");
  image(a, 0, 0);



https://github.com/dataswitch/Experimental/tree/master/databend - roughly the same as the method above - modifying image, then save as JPG and re-load. Added large-code bonus is a menu system. Worth a look just for that. Code is 3 years old, and needs some modification to work with 2.x versions of Processing.


















A vernacular of file formats workshop (PDF)




Pure Data File Killer (for jpgs) - description of algorithm is adaptable to Processing.


Glitch Art (Part 1: The Basic Databend) - a couple samples are of glithed Basquiats. part 2


http://www.skillshare.com/projects/Code-Assisted-Glitching/7452 - ongoing course @ SkillShare ??? !!!





  • might not load, so



Notes on Glitch (Hugh S. Manon and Daniel Temkin)

7.  Important precursors to glitch include Nam Jan Paik, John Cage, Annie Albers (who painted fractal search patterns before they were discovered), artists associated with New Tendencies such as Hiroshi Kawano (whose 1964 paintings of Markov chains feel intensely glitchy) and other early generative art (when it was most entrenched in blocky pixilation), as well as Max Headroom: the friendly face on the dark mode of ‘80s cyberpunk, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music (not to mention the long history of noise music), Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, Lis Rhodes (whose Light Music, built entirely from analog elements, is almost indistinguishable from some glitch video work), and net.art pioneers who embraced chaos, such as JODI and Netochka Nezvanova.


A more expansive list of proto-glitch artists might include such figures as Fran├žois Rouan, Andy Warhol, Iannis Xenakis, Ken Jacobs, Gerhard Richter, and Jamie Reid.


See Also

blog posts tagged glitch
online glitcher