Art in the age of ones and zeros: Glitch fashion
Having previously examined the fields of "datamoshing", ASCII art, BioArt, Minecraft Art, Internet Art and Robot Art, this latest installment in our series looking at the impact of digital technologies on the art world focuses on the way digital glitch aesthetics are mixing with traditional textiles to make an entirely new form of fashion for the 21st century.
The uniquely modern trend of glitch art has by now infiltrated almost every creative outlet in some way or another. From datamoshing in video to spawning an entire genre of music, this so-called "aesthetic of failure" makes art out of errors in software or hardware.
One of the more interesting examples of glitch art is the fusion of the aesthetic into a tactile material-orientated territory. Several artists and designers have been creating compelling textiles out of wholly digital patterns, fusing one of the oldest forms of material production with a thoroughly modern style.
For several years now artist Jeff Donaldson, aka Glitchaus, has been producing knitted scarves and rugs inspired by classic malware. The range is, of course, called "malwear" and one of the most iconic pieces is a blanket based on the infamous Stuxnet worm. The design essentially turns the binary code of Stuxnet into a color pattern.
Donaldson's creations span several different material outcomes and each design stems from a novel digital error source. Notendo is a series of motifs generated by intentionally short circuiting an 8bit video game system, while the MYDOOM scarf replicates the entire binary of the 2004 computer virus. Donaldson's work is currently available through a Kickstarter scheme helping fund the development of new designs.
Phillip Stearns is another artist making similar code-based textiles. Stearns originally launched his GlitchTextiles project on Kickstarter in 2012 with a view of turning the "immaterial world of the digital" into a reality of tactile, intimate materials.
More recently Stearns has successfully completed a second Kickstarter campaign, this time dubbed "Computational Textiles". The new campaign launched a series of new, even more complex designs alongside a revival of some of his classic original works. One of Stearns more interesting projects is a series dubbed "DCP" where the images taken by a modified, damaged camera are translated into throws, scarves and pillows.
Japanese designer Nukeme pioneered the art of Glitch Knitting, a process that involves hacking a Brother knitting machine. In a supreme example of the fusion between hacker culture and fashion, this open source project published directions on Github for anyone to use.
The results sit exactly on the border between terrible and compelling, but undoubtedly some of the final products are intriguingly unique.
Another strange knitting-based project is Neuroknitting, a three-way collaboration between two artists and a music technology researcher with a special interest in physiological computing. The team started the project by recording the brainwave activity of subjects listening to classical music. A knitting pattern was then constructed out of those recorded brainwaves.
Take a look through our glitch fashion gallery and see how these and other artists are translating digital code into traditional textiles.