The Glitch: Human/Digital, Flaw/Trend

by: Reilly McBride

The parallel patterns this piece explores are: the transition of digital glitches from flaws, failures, and distortions to an art form, and the transition of physical "flaws" from something to conceal to something to celebrate. There is a further connection in how technology plays a critical role on both sides of each of these transitions, and in that neither is a complete transition or occurs in a vacuum.

The invention of new technologies is what continuously creates glitches, but technology is also what has allowed glitches to be transfigured into and displayed as art. And, as was encountered many times in this project, the process of making glitch art is itself subject to glitches: plans must change when software fails, and glitches that are originally "bad" can become art themselves when captured.

Technology has enabled humans to erase their perceived flaws and create alternative versions of themselves for the digital space—a twisted sort of digital utopia. This results in horrifically unrealistic editing and a simply depressing standard to compare one's physical self to. Technology has also enabled mass social media and marketing movements to then celebrate "body positivity" and a lack of filters and makeup. Both are trends in the digital space, and coexist.