I stumbled across this experiment by Eve Warren, and I was too intrigued not to share it on the blog. She converted an MP3 file of Jessie Ware’s “Still Love Me” into a RAW file. She then opened the RAW file in Photoshop, which “resulted in an array of brightly coloured pixellated squares.” This glitch art image is a visualization of the digital file of Jessie Ware’s song.
This is not exactly a glitch, but, it is tricking an application, Photoshop, into opening a file that it cannot read properly. The idea behind a RAW file is that it is unprocessed, unlike an MP3 or JPEG. It just so happens that both images and audio use the RAW extension.
I attempted to recreate this experiment by first using an audio converter, which allowed me to turn “Still Love Me.mp3” into “Still Love Me.raw.” I ended up with a grayscale staticky image, nothing close to Warren’s dozens of colors. Then, instead of using an audio converter, I simply renamed the file as “Still Love Me.raw.” When I opened it in Photoshop this time, I was given an array of options, dealing with size, channels, and bit depth. After playing around a little bit, I ended up with a rainbow of colors below a The Matrix-esque green cascade, and that was just in ten minutes. Given more time, the unpredictability would become more tame, as I would learn how different options yielded different results.
After featuring David Szauder’s work, I became increasingly interested in glitch art, which aestheticizes the malfunctioning of electronic images: choppy blocks of distorted colors and bizarre patterns. A glitch itself is somewhat random, unexpected, and uncontrolled. But, through experiments, like Eve Warren’s, some intentionality can make its way into forming these images.
Warren’s experiment explores the disconnection between the creator and his creation. Even with a paintbrush, which is obviously more hands-on than a computer, you still cannot control every bristle precisely. And, even when working with vectors in a grid in Illustrator, your final product is still subject to screens and browsers, or ink and paper. No matter the medium, there is at least a bit of randomness in all of it, and with glitch art, part of the process is embracing that randomness.
>> See more work by Eve Warren at cargocollective.com/evewarren.