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Whither Pixels and Glitch?

So, I blogged this, but I thought this list would be the place to get 
some good thoughts on the matter.  Some slightly edited text follows:

"Whither Pixelation?  Or, the Relevance of Glitch in the Age of 

  Working in older operating systems, you can see where the "glitch"  
sound and look came from.  Take Mac OS 9: everything is pixelated, all 
the  attempts at metallic surfaces, depth, and dimension are carictures 
of the  real-world objects they mimic.  Most versions of Windows up 
until XP  suffered similarly, and even Linux's attempts at antialiasing 
are blocky,  chunky, rough.  Spend your day making music or designing 
media in this  environment, and pretty soon your world looks like 
Diesel Sweeties (www.dieselsweeties.com).

  But this is no longer the case.  Mac OS X has no tolerance for 
anything  less than smooth, scalable perfection.  Icons are 
photorealistic and  interface elements are smooth, polished, 
"lickable."  Text may as well be  printed type, and not just in some 
applications, but accross the entire  operating system.  And, as we 
know, lots of musicians, designers, and  content creators use Macs.  
Personally, when spending my digital day surrounded by such slickness, 
pixelation seems nostalgic, quaint, maybe even irrelevant.  I use a 
purposefully pixelized typeface in the title image at the top of my 
site, but I actually had to force  Adobe ImageReady not not make it 
smooth and clean.

  So too the craft of experimental electronic musicians may change as it 
becomes harder and harder to produce the bugs that give rise to the 
glitch sound.  And will our little world of sound really suffer for it? 
  There's an art-school pretentiousness in working hard to make things 
sound broken; the listener knows that the blurping beats of Pole's 
broken 4-pole filter are as "organic" as broken technology can be; 
using VST plugins to simulate this effect is disingenuous, even if the 
intent is to convey some high-minded commentary on the frailty of 
digital technology.  Glitch, pixelation, has already become old hat: 
it's a reference to an era of electronics that's already gone.  This is 
not to say it cannot be pleasurable, but it no longer carries any 
critical meaning.  Musicians and designers would do well to look to an 
antialiased future, and embrace the nostalgia of glitch like a 
guitarist to his antique fuzzbox, brought out only to remind us of 
those years when clean technology with dirty output reigned supreme, 
and of the simple pleasure this oxymoron carries.
Alexander F Payne   |   http://www.al3x.net/