Are you a perfectionist? Do you struggle to get things done because of it — or perhaps more accurately, struggle to start at all? Fear of an ideal you’ll never live up to is crippling. Instead, raw life experience (flaws included), in all its colorful permutations, gets you closer to where you want to be.
I grew up with perfectionist tendencies, a bad habit reinforced by classical music training and rigorous stretches of practice. Then I discovered jazz, which is anti-classical in some aspects, and there’s that funny saying: “Once is a mistake, twice is jazz.”
Then what comes of the third, and fourth iterations?
I adore connections in the timeline, the bridges that bind old and new. They are almost invisible, like the glass of some upscale shops that unobservant folks unfortunately walk into. But they are there. Glitch art, characterized as the “aestheticization of digital or analog errors”, is connected to wabi-sabi, “the acceptance of transience and imperfection” — and that even when mistakes happen, it may not be the same mistake twice.
Over the years, I found myself more drawn to quasi-bromides like “imperfections give art character”. Words like “texture”, and to a lesser extent, “patina” appeal because they suggest a history and story behind what’s on the surface. As I often am keen on saying, “Once we can transcend limitations, we seek to recreate them.” Evident in this Instagram age of being nostalgic for… memories we never had in the first place?
These strands have been woven into my tapestry — whether it is audio or visual — and I continue approaching “unity in diversity”. I often consider it a good sign when someone refers to their passions as being at the “crossroads” or “intersection” of separate fields. At least they were parted until now. That things themselves don’t change, but how we see them — how our attitudes towards memories color our future actions inspired by them — do.
Some glitch artists write about how their craft is an incarnation of fading and incomplete memories. I can see that as letting go of the past in one sense, and choosing to remember it differently in another. I like approaching art with great control, then in a blender, surrendering some elements to chance/chaos. I think it was Trent Reznor who once made a case about combining quantized and unquantized drums to my tender and impressionable mind, and even if it wasn’t him due to faulty memory, that lesson has stuck with me thus.
Glitch art has been healing to me in finding unexpected beauty in strange places, in the serendipitous exploration of paths I once thought were dead ends. On one of my fave sci-fi shows (in the early seasons, anyway), Sliders, the characters travel from one parallel Earth to another, lacking control over WHERE they’ll travel, and only knowing WHEN they must make the jump. That right there is an unknown factor paired with a predictable one, a lynchpin of glitch art.
If (to paraphrase Wittgenstein) the limits of my language are the limits of my world, then I choose glitch to create new languages, and new worlds.