So, back in the New Year before my A-Z project started I got in to corrupting .jpeg files. I’ve recently discovered that it’s actually a thing that people do! Egads! It’s a great style, I really dig the aesthetic that it can produce.

I mentioned it to my university tutor, who had no idea what it was. He asked if it was a ‘fad’. I guess it kind of is, in that people will do databending just because it looks cool. But does that mean that it doesn’t have applications? Of course not. What’s to stop this being used for books, magazines, album covers, website designs etc? Nothing at all except for personal choice.

Every aesthetic style has applications. Some people want hyper realistic drawings or fantasy scenescapes for their endeavours. Other people want the regular, indie illustrations for promotional materials because that’s what’s cool right now. You know what I’d want? I’d want some dark, grungy graphics or distorted/corrupted imagery.

For my university mini-negotiated project this is what I’m going to explore. The possible applications of glitch art, as a process and as an aesthetic style, to commercial projects. One of the things I might do to help with this is to recreate existing pieces of media in this style. For example, I could create my own cover to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep by Philip K. Dick, the book which Blade Runner was based on. I could look through magazines like Wired and New Scientist to find an article that talks about technology, and create responses to the article that would fit in as editorial illustrations. There’s a lot I could explore.

But I could also create pieces based on a theme that doesn’t directly fit the style. I, personally, think that a digitally corrupted response to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven could be pretty badass. The style, in it’s corrupt manner, fits a dark, disturbed story like that and could serve as a great modernised (or even futuristic) response to the prose.

My tutor also asked whether it can be controlled enough to be expressive, which is a very good question. One of the ways that I’ve been databending is by importing images in to programs like Audacity, altering the files with audio effects and other methods, then exporting them as images again. That’s how I made this image above, with the type added later. Each of the different audio effects in Audacity alters the file in different ways, and this is reflected when you look at it after. A phaser effect alters the sound by, in layman’s terms, “making it go all up and down like”.
If you look at an image after it’s had the phaser effect applied to it, you can see how it got there. The image is shifted in a way that reflects it. Look!

 You see that kind of side to side distortion there that looks like it could have been created by the wind/blast/stagger filter in Photoshop? Well, it wasn’t I swear. That’s a phaser.

The text is all Photoshop though. I’ve yet to fully experiment with text, but that should be interesting.

But the point is, that the visual effect reflects how the audio effect would change it if it were a ‘sound’. Increasing the volume makes the image darker and more vibrant. Decreasing it makes it lighter. You can even use a fade in/out to make the image…wait for it….Fade in and out! Egads! What witchcraft is this!?

The white line at the top is generated ‘silence’, which is actually is a bit of static. The grey bar at the bottom is a generated ‘Sine Tone’. Sawtooth tones (whatever they might be) are interesting to look at too, and even have a sawtooth LOOK about them with their zig-zaggy edges.

  In response to my tutor’s question “Can it be controlled?” I say “Damn bloody right it can! But can unpredictability be useful too?”

If I had complete control over what was going to happen to the images then where would the fun be? Then I’m just using Audacity as an extension of my Photoshop filters. Some more cool, technologically corrupt looking effects to add to my list of things I can make.

Opening files in a Hex editor and swapping lines of code around will be my next venture. For now, have some more Audacity funtimes.





My first attempt at using Wordpad just generated some pretty static. Which is great and all, but only serves to make me textures I can use. My second attempt went much better.


Welcome to the Black Country, folks.

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  1. williamstafford

     /  March 30, 2012

    I had no idea what this was until you showed some examples. You use the term ‘glitch art’ and that immediately brought Andy Warhol to my mind. His screen prints were all about the glitches caused in the process and he (Andy) used these glitches to reinforce the meaning of his mass-produced images. Maybe. Or maybe I’m a warhol.

    I would like to see what illustration or cover designs you’d create for my novels.

    • I’d love to get involved in more screenprinting, but I’m intentionally not getting too in to it at university right now because I know that as soon as I leave I won’t have access to a screenprinting press anymore! Which is why it’s on my list of expensive things to buy for the warehouse of stuff I will call my home/studio when I am older.

      I have also recently decided that my alcohol cabinet will be an old apothecary cabinet. You know, the one that unfolds and has a secret compartment at the back for poisons? I do love old stuff, and if I can save it from just sitting in someone’s loft then all the better.

      Leporello on the Lam? Congratulations! I’ve never actually seen/read Don Giovanni, but I may do just so I can follow it up with Leporello’s antics. Amazon tells me it was released at the start of this month?
      Also, you say novels! Plural! Which others are yours? :)


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