What makes out today’s notworking is the social glitch

GLTI.CH KaraokeFor 3 years I have collaborated on a project with Kyoung Kim. Known as GLTI.CH Karaoke, or sometimes just GLTI.CH, we’ve plotted the course of accidents, of temporal lyrical disjoints and technical out-of-syncs through a wide variety of different mediums, spaces and social conditions. This week saw what feels like the climax of our experiments, a three day – 67 hour – installation at CRYSTALLIZE, an exhibition of new media art held alongside the 2013 Korea Brand & Entertainment Expo, at Old Billingsgate, London.

GLTI.CH has played a significant part in my practice and thus my thinking over the last 3 years. Working with Kyoung has afforded me countless experiences and opportunities, and introduced me to the world of glitch, digital, net and new media arts and artists. The project is not over, but its Karaoke phase is drawing to a conclusion. I thought it would be a good time to republish this half-considered manifesto I wrote a while back.

15 Statements about Glti.ch Notworking

What makes out today’s networking is the notworking. There would be no routing if there were no problems on the line. Spam, viruses and identity theft are not accidental mistakes, mishaps on the road to techno perfection. They are constitutional elements of yesterday’s network architectures.

Lovink, Gert. (2005), The Principle of Notworking Concepts in Critical Internet Culture,” p. 10

GLTI.CH Karaoke is not a hack or some fancy programming. It’s taking the front-end of things and trying to make something else. We’ve made the mishmashed world of GLTI.CH Karaoke through play and we hope you’ll sing with us.

karaoke, glti.ch (2011), “WHAT IS GLTI.CH KARAOKE?

1. Glti.ches are more than aesthetic revelations: as software crashes, or hardware halts to a stutter, the soft underbelly of the notwork is exposed.

2. The trick is to see the glti.ch not as an abhorrence, but as a signal of noisy potential: error and noise are an implicit feature of digital materiality.

3. What Gaston Bachelard called ‘Desire Paths’, physical etchings in our surroundings drawn by the thoughtless movement of (human) feet, also exist online.

4. For those versed in the language of the glti.ch, desire equals subversion and the means of flight – a way to reverse the roles of power. The line of desire in these cases is often laid directly over the enclosed path.

5. Being buffered along by the unruly torrents of technical failure, the true semblance of the glti.ch is impossible to pin down: notwork control mechanisms have desirable unintended effects.

6. The kludge is a hands-on, makeshift solution, to an unpredictable technical or social problem: 100% of cargo cult coders, pirates, glitch artists and hackers started out as kludgers.

7. Algorithms that churn your Google search, or offer you potential meta-data with which to imbricate your image collection into the logic of the database, have themselves become actors in the play of human relations.

8. Digital formats as diverse as ePub, DivX, and GIF, and software platforms from the likes of Google, Microsoft or Apple, trace narrative arcs which are themselves transcodable relations.

9. Interruption, stutters and breaks force us into encounters with the world, exposing the circuitry that we as consumers are expected to elude into the background.

10. Digital copies, being copied, forever copying, exert an unruly behaviour that exposes the material world.

11. The most astonishing thing about the notwork is how any order can be maintained in it at all.

12. The more regulations imposed upon the notworks, the more interesting the resulting glti.ches will be in their variation/liberation.

13. Human beings are material entities, buffered by the same stops and starts as the notwork.

14. Participating in the glti.ch, in the artifact that exposes the failure, is to align oneself with material reality.

15. The glti.ch is a social phenomenon.