[ music video ] Love is Lost [ Hello Steve Reich Mix ] David Bowie

David Bowie : Love Is Lost [ Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA ]

It’s a music video; it’s a 10:30 short film odyssey from particulate animation through meshes through datamoshing and other decay tricks, edited with quicktime effects and transitions, and referring always to the human form and figure in this newnew language of ours.

or, David Bowie remains just about best at everything.

Gogol’s Overcoat: The Gravedigger’s Meditation [ view online through 2/28 ]



The Gravediggers Meditation-HD 720p 1750

untitled video still : the gravedigger’s meditation


An experiment in audience relationships, exhibitions, intimacy, the internet – – I’m streaming The Gravedigger’s Meditation at station-number-six.com through Feb. 28. After that, it disappears into the land of ‘password protected screener’ as I work to get it shown elsewhere.

Vladimir Nabokov said of Gogol: “When, as in the immortal The Overcoat, he really let himself go and pottered on the brink of his private abyss, he became the greatest artist that Russia has yet produced.” Gogol’s story of a poor, quiet copyist who finagles a new overcoat in the bitterest of Russian winters. Then, the coat is stolen; what was a blessing becomes a disaster.

This animation – – yes, I did steal images of overcoats from the internet in order to make it … The piece is also a meditation on the relationship of copying, language-as-object, record-keeping, and technology to a community’s memory. There may be a wink at the commodification of appearances but you know, the first rule of capitalist materialism is you don’t talk about how it works.

Animation frankensteined together in Adobe AfterEffects from parts created with QT7, Processing, and Quartz Composer. Audio created & mixed in Apple Logic, better with headphones.


church of glitch

Viz. Menkman : the artefact created/discovered by accidents of digital processes, or intentionally accidented digital processes – how can these machines create? Computers are only supposed to do as exactly as they are told.

Glitch points to the error, the flaws woven into material reality. Artefact as scar tissue. Computing is built on the user’s illusion, the information perceived on the screen. How it works – for most users, the digital platform is completely foreign.  In Kabbalah material reality is located in ‘the depth of evil’ in part because of the nesting boxes of illusion presented by personal story, point of view, and the layers of imperfection, brokenness, etc. that humans are confronted with in this world. The tension between the imagined perfect and the flawed ‘real’.

Glitch art operates in this space.

In glitch one finds the revelation of the imperfection of the digital, an ongoing criticism / pointing to / celebration of the underlying flaws of the platform.

How each artist harnesses the dilemmas of the medium becomes the interesting thing.


Of course people like to mimic the sexxxy-broken aesthetic. With enough determination and a cracked copy of Photoshop one can create the echoes, colorselected copy pasted pixels, the “look”. Recently there was a fistfight in an online glitch community on this point. Its only when a photoshop artist argued that “image manipulation in photoshop is the same as image manipulation in audacity” that I called the discussion dumb as a bag of hair* and found my church of glitch.

All artistic media needs boundaries of ‘what it is not’. While “painting” as a class can contain objects of ‘watercolor’ and ‘oil’, a watercolor painting is not an oil painting. “Digital art” as a class can contain objects like ‘glitched photography’ and ‘photoshop painting mimicing a glitched aesthetic’. A glitched photo is not a photoshop painting.

A glitched photo points to/critiques/exposes the flaws of the medium that supports the perceivable image. A photoshop painting unquestioningly uses the platform of digital media to create a perceivable image.


The thread has been since deleted, perhaps because the argument can go on endlessly. People take it personally, and all those feels get in the way of considering the truth in the media object.

We can only see the object of the image file through the mediating screen & other equipment of the computer. Its all sort of unreal, and becomes tweedledum and tweedledee arguing over their rattle in the forest. *Hence the ‘dumb as a bag of hair’ comment.

I said this sort of thing to the art school bros who claimed they were ‘glazing with oil paints’ when they weren’t, at my undergrad. Same with incalmo hot glass work – there’s a technical baseline, one that’s much harder to meet than opening a .jpg in word pad. Those who claimed the were making incalmo (but weren’t) were informed as such . . . but glass art and oil painting both have the history of tradition and the authority of that established tradition to make the claim. Still, the determined continued to claim they were right, telling themselves they were participating in that history.

All I got’s Rosa Menkman**.  I’m glad I’ve chosen to read some of her theory, explore the ideas around the activity. It lends additional meaning and context to what I’m doing, helps me draw that line around glitch and explain to curators why glitch as a process is important to the meaning in the work I’m making.

I don’t know why its important for people to jump on a bandwagon, when are not doing the thing. Is it that important to belong to the group? To say you are doing the thing, when you are? I suppose all the digital is a mimic, but the 50-50 split of ‘this isn’t glitch, it mimics it’ in that community was interesting to me.

The ticket to participation in this activity is computer ownership, determination, and enough ego strength to post shit online for other ppl to see.  I gotta take Alice’s tip and leave T.& T. to their rattle, my own working definition of the media I’m making and screening tucked under my arm.


** This isn’t really true, I’ve also got Jon Satrom & Jon Cates & Nik Briz and all the stuff happening with the dirty new media people here in Chicago. I read/see their stuff & think about it too. In the context of that online community, cited Menkman only, so that’s where this blog post went. I am imperfect in my church making.

??? Who wins at the Internet today? [ thisguy ]


we have a winner!

On Memorial Day, when I logged into Flickr, I found my stats had crossed 100,000 views. I have less than 2,000 images in my Flickr stream; still, people are looking. The most popular image? Ungun: Raspberry Ruger. I decided to give it away, via a lottery I ran from June 1 to the 21st!

As I wrote in the post announcing the lottery, when I started making the images that became the ungun project, I put them on flickr. I kept making them in part because of the positive response to the work in the photostream.  At the time I was working full-time in demanding, customer-facing work. Positive feedback from Flickr, and a handful of my customers, was my only encouragement to move the work forward. Their responses were so intense, and so personal, it gave me a huge push to keep making.

So here we are, with the winner – @oxthoughts from twitter, Ian Martin, will be receiving an archival giclee print of Ungun: Raspberry Ruger. The image is sized such that the glitched handgun mirrors that of the ‘real life’ gun.

I have some interesting things cooking for the ungun project. I can’t help but keep making the images, and more representations of broken guns are going to be appearing, in different forms, during 2014.

Thanks to all who signed up for the drawing!

Internet party! ungun giveaway flickr celebrate

On Memorial Day I logged in to Flickr to upload some video stills and noticed that my stats had passed 100,000 views. I decided to give away archival prints of whatever image had the most views. I’m really glad its an ungun! I make unguns by stealing images of guns from the internet, and using a variety of tools to ‘break’ or ‘glitch’ them.

I started making unguns on my commute to work, in response to a particularly bloody weekend in Chicago, November 2012. I posted them to Flickr, where they got an initial audience. I am thankful for that audience, and its feedback and support.

Conversations with non-artists has shaped the ungun project. After seeing the images, people have told me personal stories about guns, their complicated relationships with them, what they mean privately and publicly. I heard about the first time he was given a gun and what that meant to his family relationships. She told me of her fear of walking in isolated public spaces, since Illinois has a concealed carry law. A former US soldier told me about their utility, when he was serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also told me about the horrors they created.



ungun : rasberry ruger

Limited edition print : 16″ x 13″ giclee print on archival rag
Image sized to match that of the actual handgun, a Ruger LCP pistol in Raspberry.

ungun, the animated short film, has screened in Bulgaria; been installed as a three-channel installation in Sicily, Italy; and screened in Naples, Italy. Last year it was featured in Pittsburgh Filmmaker’s Three Rivers Film Festival, in the Shorts competition, and has been hosted in several venues as part of the show, VIDEO>transcends.

The raspberry ruger image has almost 2,500 views on Flickr, and the most favorites of any image in my photo stream. This limited edition print has a paper size of 16″ x 13″. Printed giclee on archival rag, the image is sized to match that of the actual handgun. Lottery closes on June 21, 2014. Scroll down & sign up! Winner will be announced on June 24.

When I sell ungun prints*, they retail for 1/4 the retail price of the model of handgun the image is sourced from, since they are based on a stolen image.  In this case, the value of the print would float between $80 and $133, depending on the location of the purchaser. Because the way guns are priced depends on so many things.

Would you like the chance to get one? Provide your name and your email address to be added to the lottery! Tell me how you found this contest, and if you want to subscribe to my email list. The lottery has closed; if you would like to sign up for my email list, you can use this form, if you’d like.

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’How did you find out about this party?’ type=’select’ required=’1′ options=’twitter,smoke signals,flickr,google+,email list,referred by a friend’/][contact-field label=’Yes! Sign me up for the email list!’ type=’checkbox’/][/contact-form]

Lottery closes on June 21, 2014. Winner will be announced on June 24. Currently planning to give away just 1 print. If over 100 people sign up, I will give 2. More than 250, I will give 3. Thank you! And, tell the world!

*I have not sold this print.



Jessica Fenlon received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s interdisciplinary studio arts program in 2002. She learned the analog precursers to what she does now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her BFA.

She has worked on independant documentary projects; provided video backdrops for performance artists, musicians, poets, and bands; hosted open screenings; curated video installations and mini-shows. She’s supported theatrical teams as digital media installation and projection manager. She has cut and re-cut work to fit the needs of the space, the performers, the others in the project. She has staffed and documented projects. See the complete list of her exhibited, performed, and collaborated work here.

While working for Apple, Inc., she was trained in California to teach Apple software and hardware to customers and co-workers. Certified in Final Cut Pro and Motion, she beta-tested the Apple Certified Professional’s Motion 5 Certification Exam. As a software technician and troubleshooter, she’s familiar with many, many sofwares; look at linkedin or contact her for more detail.

reel contents : video :

enter to exit tracks 01, 03, 09 : we are all doors opening : InService opening, reframing, & lower thirds : string theory opening : poem : at the end titlecard : spoiled heat opening : gun in everyone clip : pattern recognition opening : plan lost in dream trailer : flip the script text animation : glitchbumper [2011] : i.thou before & after mosh splitscreen text sample : ripley before & after mosh splitscreen video sample

audio :

enter to exit tracks 01, 03, 09 : i.thou soundtrack : pattern recognition audio / collaboration with d.j. earwig

i.thou : director’s statement [excerpt]

i.thou : caged bird

i.thou : caged bird

This film evolved from the process of codec alteration, commonly called ‘data moshing’. I saw Takeshi Murata’s work at the Hirschhorn in 2007. Already working in experimental video, I decided to figure out how to do that. A few youTube tutorials later, I started playing with data alterations on a variety of found, captured, and recorded videos. As I figured out the results I preferred – richer colors, slower transformations – I became really interested in moments where two people in a conversation ‘merge’, as in the closing image of the woman holding the man at gunpoint.
i.thou : blue faces

i.thou : blue faces

This kind of merging or collapsing of faces operates in the space of social dynamics of self and other. Martin Buber’s psychological philosophy describes how different people can see the world, based on their own personal development. In the ‘i-it’ dynamic, the self relates to others as objects or dolls, fixed images of some sort. In the ‘i-thou’ dynamic the self relates to other people as complex being with lives of their own. The term ‘sonder’ is also related to this.

I began thinking about the natural objectification that is at work inside the language of film. Constructing this film over a 5-year period was a long period of musing on the projected image, the archetypes that good films evoke through great image construction. Also, how the human mind constructs images or ideas, how our imaginations participate with the physical world to create reality.

i.thou : lets play telephone

i.thou : let’s play telephone

I’m looking forward to announcing exhibition / screening of the work.

Total running time : 38:29 // dolby surround // available in a variety of digital formats

ode to completion : i.thou

i.thou now stands as a 40 minute experimental film.

The stills collected here are moments from the making process.

The film is as much about the illusion of filmmaking as it is the illusion of perception, the malleability of our senses . . . A meditation on social vs. personal [ lived ] identity. Lived self and the dance of projection.

It’s also a 40-minute hallucinated, irrational, unbelieved, outrageous homage to women who have disappeared – – an imagined resurrection of the body of ‘the dead girl’ so many stories are built on in our media.

Silence, voice, image, experience, ownership . . .

. . . I’m putting the final touches on the audio mix today and tomorrow.

[ thoughts from the gallery of stills on flickr ]

(revealing mystic truths) credit & author. digital art & fine art

Why do we like a single author?

When you look at Akira Kurosawa’s films, you don’t just see a Kurosawa film – you see a film created by a team that worked together for years. That team, assembled and managed by Kurosawa, we call that team Kurosawa.

It’s easy to market and sell Kurosawa’s films. We know what that name means. That’s the branding bonus of associating a body of work, an aesthetic, with a single person.

Why do we participate in the cult of “individual genius”?

Art history likes sole authors. It fits the art history model of storytelling. Through lens of hindsight, art historians, curators, and sales people play connect the dots with inspiration-lineages. Its easier when only one person made the work.

What museum docent wants to add “attributed to” or “studio of” to almost every work of art? Art education reinforces the single-author narrative relentlessly. Moreover, museum visitors ask for that story. School groups test their students on that story. If a collective made an installation, “who led the collective?” they ask.

Historians across many disciplines distill complex created objects down to single authors. Even the Bible has its mythic, single-author source, the Q document. World War II was about Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, FDR.


Artists play the single-author game as we are taught. That game includes participating in the narcissistic illusion that every idea the viewer sees in our work is sourced only inside our mythic genius.

The gallery wants to discover & show the genius. Genius sells. Art making is incomprehensible to non-artists, anyway. Its easy, chalking it up to genius or ballsy charlatanry.


What do we do when the tools the artist uses to make the work could not be made by the artist? Wait, we’re at that place with painting and printmaking now because artists don’t make their own pigments or inks anymore, they use commercial stuff. . .

No, I’m talking about computers.

Should I give the platform credit? I do inadvertently when I say “final cut pro” or any other Apple software for digital video editing or animation. It only runs on Mac. There’s some badge of struggle, working inside of Apple’s walled garden.

Different platforms provide access to different tools. I switched to only-Mac for creative production in 2007. A toolset I used for datamoshing – Avidemux & FFMPEG, which I taught myself from a pair of YouTube tutorials – suddenly broke (in part) about eighteen months ago, even though I had retained Mac OS X 10.6.8 on a computer to keep that toolset available to me. After a bunch of troubleshooting, I adapted, retaining Avidemux with different codec approaches, and also adding bangnoise’s datamosh Quartz Composer plugin to my toolkit.


Besides spending a few hours going through videos I’ve published to the Internet, adding a ‘tech specs’ sheet to every work I’ve published there, I have another question. Does including tool-attribution in a grant proposal or show proposal interfere with curator’s perception of me as “author”?

Well, first I have to convince them the DVD isn’t broken. There’s a very small space for talking about technical tools when I’m asking them to consider video that is “damaged on purpose”. My next round of submissions may have the disclaimers stating “this video is damaged intentionally” at the lead-in, before the content. Screeners don’t seem to read the paperwork.

Where in that space is there room for discussion of authorship/tool credit?


How do I provide attribution in a gallery space?

I shipped my first multiple-room, large scale installation proposal a few weeks ago. It includes data bent and glitched work transformed into animated video installation for one of the rooms. Tool-credit was not provided in the proposal; each of the softwares used to create the glitch images are commercial softwares. Should that work become installed, I expect to wall-mount a ‘technical attribution’ plaque or wall text.

The ungun work needs a rich variety of broken images. I’ve produced well over 5,000 discrete images; I haven’t exhausted the visual vocabulary of the toolset I’m using, but I feel like its getting close. So I’m starting to use Processing, both writing some of my own sketches and using other people’s code from the community library.

Its not right to use tools provided to me without providing attribution. The ungun work is particularly ambitious in scope; if I were to re-invent the wheel for every tool I used, it wouldn’t get made.


There is a difference between credit and authorship.


There is a relationship between a toolset and the resulting aesthetic. How transparent I am with my process will communicate how intentionally I work. A significant question: “why did I choose Tom Butterworth’s (@bang_noise)’s tool”?

I tested several. His gave me the desired result, adequately replacing a process that was lost to me.

How many curators/art gallery people can ask that question – “Why did you choose this particular Quartz Composer patch?”

The choice of tools integral to my creative practice. This tool – this quartz composer patch – it’s not like an instagram or photoshop image filter. I transcode and composite my source to get to a particular starting point, then run it through QC & capture the result, then run the result through color correction and other effecting.

The choice of tools is absolutely integral to my creative practice. Incomprehensible as video codec manipulation may be to most, I couldn’t do it without tools provided by @bang_noise and, it looks like also @_vade, as I’m testing some tools from him later today.


video made using, among other things, datamosh effects with the Datamosh Kit / YouTube-instruction found here

video made using, among other things, datamosh effects with bangnoise’s Quartz Composer patch found here


Quartz Composer is a visual human interface for Quartz graphics processing in Mac OS. This means Apple made it. Quartz graphics processing happens in a layer of the OS that is closer to the machine hardware than to the user interface; (horrible analogy follows) in your car its not the steering wheel, its the cables and such that turn the tires.

As an underlying technology, it makes video effects editing possible; many of the effects used in Photoshop layer filters are taken from this programmatic toolset. I have no idea if I should include these notes in blog posts where I discuss the technical procedures related to my artwork. I think its important, though, for giving credit.

Quartz Composer as a tool has programmatic elements, called ‘patches’. To non-users they could be kites, for all they know. When I say I’m testing kites made by @_vade, or using bangnoise’s QC kite, I say that I’m downloading a kite and adding it to a library of kites that only Quartz Composer can fly. I’m trying those kites, to see if they do something interesting. That’s important, as an artist, that’s where it gets rich and interesting, sorting through that.

sketchbook : guns

sketch : glitched & composited image of a handgun


My frustration with guns managed by making art that neuters them, turns them into beautiful objects that if actually fired would fire into themselves, or metaphors for fabric ~ something that connects in a nourishing way, a property humans can express with guns only by relinquishing them.


assault rifle blanket pattern (glitched)


Glitched the source image, an AR15 assault rifle. Then composited it into something that reminds me of a blanket pattern. Then discovered the reds in it by cutting into the jpeg code a little more.

sketchbook : stills from the altered data set of a video file (2012)







i keep thinking of gerhardt richter, and electrocardiograms, or lie detecter tests.

data set altered using quartz composer. resulting video file further massaged for color information using apple’s color. exported at pro res 4444 before pulling stills as PNG files.

source video content : a kodachrome film of dutch flower gardens found at archive.org