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Null_Sets Demo Video

by Ethan Tussey

by evan meaney for IN MEDIA RES


when i started to make glitch work, i was enraptured by the dirty aesthetic of it. the encompassing sense that what i was doing was predicated on a revolt of archival, punk-ish vandalism. everyone else i knew was making experimental documentaries about the sky, or their dead grandmothers, or the plight of the indigenous maltese falcon; and i got to be a digital hit man, assassinating codecs and making an unusable archival future. i was different, my passions were different. i, like a love-sick fool, relished exception for exception’s sake.

then i began working with other glitch artists. people who, for their own reasons, identified something within the glitch that represented portions of their own identities. soon it wasn’t enough to call something hacked and call it a day. i had to dig a bit deeper. what specifically was punk rock about a bit of inexpressible hex code? what is viable out of that which cannot be read?

for me, it all comes back to language. glitches are entropic systems being expressed and interpreted rationally. we give them names, we give them attributes, we deem gifs to be cool and datamoshing to be weak. we recognize colors, we make allegories to our own pasts and hopes for the future. looking at a glitch is like reading tea leaves for me now. i don’t see punk rock vandalism anymore, because i no longer wish to be a punk rock vandal. i see my own inabilities. my own language faltering at the precipice. now, when i see a glitch, i see a cherished weakness, much like the cherished weakness of trying to tell someone you love them, and lacking the right phonemes.


Null_Sets: Introduction

null_sets is a new body of artwork aimed at exploring the gap between data and information. consisting of a set of images (plus a free app), this project stems from our interest in glitches, code-breaking, and translation. our custom script encodes text files as images, making it possible to visualize both the size and architecture of large-scale data sets through an aesthetic lens. so if you ever wanted to see hamlet as a jpeg and find artistic merit hiding within its code, here's your chance.

from Null_Sets: Introduction (2012)
Creator: evan meaney
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey