Ben Baker-Smith posted an article to Vague Terrain this week, describing the Glitch Art pool on Flickr, and interviewing me and some of the other regularly contributing artists.
There were a few surprises for me among the answers. First, the prevalence of Pop Art as an influence. I say this as someone for whom Pop Art has been an enormous influence. In fact, I describe it as a natural companion to databending and go into some of the reasons in my answer to the influence question (just after glitch-irion's image, halfway through the article). However, I wasn't expecting it to be so consistently invoked by the other artists as well, and so high up in their lists of influences. For some of their work, I have noticed the connection: in glitch-irion's audio-bent work for instance. Like in this piece, where you can see the silk-screen look that comes from bending CMYK layers individually. Some Pop Art work explores what makes an image iconic, and the frequent repetition of images in databending provides a way to address this. My first databending series, Sector, explicitly references Warhol and his take on automation in art. But I'm curious about how the other artists see the influence of Pop Art on their work, which concepts from Pop Art are exciting to them -- it would be interesting to hear more of their take on it.
The influence I was expecting to see referenced was hardly mentioned at all: cyberpunk. It, after all, helped popularize the look of digital degradation -- on book covers, in films (and TV in the case of Max Headroom) in the late 80's and early 90's. Apart from a mention of William Gibson (from Max Capacity), there were no references to it. Is it passé now? Or just too obvious to mention?
I was also surprised by references to the dwindling of entries in the pool, and the sense that Glitch art is waning. I mentioned to Ben after the article was published; that perhaps Glitch has become enough of an established style that it no longer has quite the same level of interest and sense of innovation that it had earlier. It's becoming more common for photographers in other styles to have one databent series, or a few images in that style. But from the entries that have appeared in the pool recently, and what I saw at the Bent Festival this year, databending is continuing to evolve in new directions, even if the pace is slower or the style becoming more diluted.
After the article was published, Rosa Menkman posted to the group on another idea of why the pool has slowed lately:
I wonder if there is only a decrease of activity in the pool, or if this decrease is also at least partially the result of the changing / leaving of admins. In this pool i think a lot changed when Stephanie left. She used to moderate or kickstart a lot of questions that inspired me to think more. for some history look at this threat: www.flickr.com/groups/glitches/discuss/72157616135729354/ ... The stop in posting (the silent times) was i think due to admins stopping to accept photos to the pool, and not because people stopping posting (i know my photos were queued for a long time). This is due to the ever tricky "does this count?"-glitch question that asks for time consuming moderation of photos
DoDD242 has been the only active admin for a while, and I think he's done a great job considering how difficult the group is to manage. It's high-profile, and, as Rosa points out, the majority of submissions are from people who are clearly lost and don't know what databending or the Glitch style are. Any single person, even if they check the group several times a day, will occasionally have crises or commitments that will take them away for days at a time or longer -- and this can seem like an eternity to the people who have images sitting in the queue, and stifle discussion when nothing new appears for a while. This encoraged me to take on a moderator role myself -- so hopefully with two people moderating, the posting of images may become more consistent, and perhaps the conversations more lively.
In addition to inspiring me to take a different role in the group, the article and discussions around it introduced me to the work of some Glitch artists I was only vaguely familiar with. It also gave me a chance to hear ideas articulated by some of the Glitch artists whose work I've been following for a while. I expect there will be more discussion / debate about issues raised in the article over the next few weeks.