A Beginner’s Guide to Glitch Art

Usually when a piece of technology breaks, certain symptoms emerge: the screen messes up, there are weird lines or patterns that mess with your use of the tool, or it just simply fails to function at all in the way that you want it to. These errors are frustrating, of course, but they can also be aesthetically interesting. “Glitch art” makes use of bugs in technology, exploiting what otherwise might look like flaws and turning them into powerful works of art.

What is a glitch, exactly? It could be a mistake in a source code that gives rise to an unforeseen artifact, the term given to the effect rather than the root of a glitch. It could also mean a way of tweaking a piece of technology, using it in a way that wasn’t originally intended. In celebration of the rise of glitch art and the glitch philosophy, here are 10 artists who have created artwork with glitches, taking advantage of the fallibility of machines and turning it to their advantage.

JODI

JODI are a Dutch internet artist duo who might be considered the grandparents of digital glitch art. Their website, jodi.org, at first looks like a train wreck. Then, visitors gradually realize that the site is supposed to have strange links, garbled text, and broken images. The homepage is never the same twice; it’s forever being changed and further developed. The process, along with the cracked-out code, subverts the true purpose of a website: to communicate.