Glitch Art Flickr Group

Todd Margolis and Tracy Cornish. 2011.

4000 images from Flickr Glitch Art Group.
X-axis = brightness mean. Y-axis = entropy.

Computer glitches are the completely random, unpredictable and unexpected failures of digital systems. They are the result of approximated values and computational compensations for inaccessible information. Unlike bugs or faulty programming which can be tracked back to errors in code, glitches are fleeting and are often the result of untraceable truncated data streams or rounded values. They interfere with the notion of perfect digital reproduction, and remind us of the constructed and transient nature of information.

Glitching is an expanding genre in visual arts/cultural theory, electronic music and gaming to refer to the practice of exploiting glitches. These short-lived faults are part of our contemporary experience – they are inextricably linked to our engagement with digital technology and information transfer. As contemporary cultural indicators, glitches have the potential to be employed as an entry point into the critique of post-digital culture.

The Glitch Art group on Flickr has over 3000 members with over 7000 images. Using Todd Margolis’ Flickr Harvester in combination with Cultural Analytics tools developed by the Software Studies Initiative at UCSD, Tracy Cornish has been investigating emergent patterns in this repository based on Flickr metadata as well as image features.