Digital Image And How Can D Dgital Aesthetics Be Described

2470 words - 10 pages

Where the digital represents exact order and precise control of virtual realities through mathematical dualities as symbolized in binary code or machine language, the "glitch" in digital art is an example of chaos in order, or the moment of singularity as expressed by space, time, & mind in the image. Olga Goriunova and Alexei Shulgin define the glitch as being symbolic of the first generation of web art or net art, the artistic expression of the global underground community in the dot.com era of the early internet’s birth and expansion. "Glitch: This term is usually identified as jargon, used in electronic industries and services, circuit-bending practitioners, gamers, media artists, and designers. In electrical systems, a glitch is a short-lived error in a system or machine. A glitch appears as a defect..." (Goriunova & Shulgin, 2008) It is the breakdown and error of systems that produces the opportunity for genuine individuality or subjectivity of the post-modern digital artist. The individual self-expression is reduced to an ironic defect within the greater matrix of social programming and control, but is experienced heroically as overcoming by the person through creative self-identity. The glitch is the spontaneous ecstasy and spark of life referenced by the mythology and fairy tales of Artificial Intelligence in science fiction: the ghost-soul in the machine vs. man as god. The artist is seeking the reflection of singularity through artistic expression, yet to go beyond limits, the software imposed tautology must be transcended by the chaos of the glitch.

The glitch is the software expression of the human in software through the most fundamental characteristic of modern humanity, human error. This is experienced as the irrationality of the unforseen manifesting in the face of the programmer and engineer’s vision of total control through system design. Yet, as both a symbol and in artistic practice, the glitch represents the synchronicity of a moment irreproducible and inconceivable other than how it appears, randomly, unexpected, captured as a nano-second flash and still-life photograph of quantum mind with all its uncertainty in post-modern awareness. Goriunova & Shulgin chart the meme of the modern Prometheus from Shelley’s Frankenstein as an example of Victorian conceptions of disfunctionality vs. utilitarianism: people, objects, and ideas "sooner or later becoming 'evil' as they stop functioning correctly." (Ibid., p.115) If Frankenstein is the early modernist “glitch-as-hero,” then the “AI-becoming-conscious” meme is the post-modern equivalent. This dream mythology seeks to conjure into existence, from a fusion of science and imagination, a sentient, autonomous, & self-aware artificial intelligence (AI) being in literature, animation, or film. This theme usually takes two forms: 

technology as part of nature: evolving, spontaneously becoming sentient through a glitch that represents rupture of plane of existence, ecstasy, and...

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