The Aesthetics of Retrieval: Beautiful Data, Glitch Art and Popular Culture

Article


Shaw, D. 2020. The Aesthetics of Retrieval: Beautiful Data, Glitch Art and Popular Culture. Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman. 1 (Art. 13). https://doi.org/10.16997/ahip.15
AuthorsShaw, D.
Abstract

At a time when the meaning of democracy is challenged by the power of algorithms and the politics of misinformation what has become apparent is that the valorisation of data is the defining characteristic of contemporary digital capitalism. In the marketing of ‘Big Data’ different forms of visualisation (dataviz) are employed to support the claim that a series of perfect signals can be abstracted from the background noise of the world’s incessant uploading of information. At the same time, ‘glitch’ artists and musicians have developed techniques which deliberately disrupt digital signals, randomly re-assorting ordered sequences to privilege noise over signal and aestheticize error.

This paper will examine glitch as an artform which deconstructs the aesthetics of dataviz at the same time as it exposes what must remain hidden for it to retain value. It will propose a critical technique through which glitch artefacts in popular culture can be employed to explore the oppositional politics of posthuman subjects.

Keywordsalgorithm; big data; glitch art; aesthetics; posthuman; Max Headroom; Mr Robot; Blade Runner 2049
JournalAnthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman
Journal citation1 (Art. 13)
ISSN2633-4321
Year2020
PublisherUniversity of Westminster Press
Publisher's version
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.16997/ahip.15
Web address (URL)https://www.anthropocenes.net/articles/10.16997/ahip.15/
Publication dates
Online29 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Jul 2020
Deposited02 Nov 2020
Copyright holder© 2020 The Author
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