[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
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/