Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Revisiting Convolution in Processing

 


Recently I've been revisiting a convolution script I use in the Processing environment based on this script by Daniel Shiffman here https://processing.org/examples/convolution.html

My version of that is modified to take an input from a webcam or video capture device and perform convolution on the input in real time - outputting video in the processing sketch window. This is done by taking a snapshot of the video feed then performing the convolution on that image and outputting that into the view port, it happens so quickly ( for the most part) that it seems as you are seeing continuous video . 

I've also modified the script by combining it with another example script that comes with processing that pixelates video - it seems to improve the quality of convolution. The output of this version also reminds me of the effects I can achieve using some of my circuit bent cameras.

The kernels ( convolution matrices) I'm using are based in part on the work of Kunal Agnohotri who gave a talk to Fubar 2019 on 'Hacking convolution filters'

Below is the script in its working state that Ive been running on Gnuinos Linux ( a fully libre version of Devuan Linux that Ive started to swap over too). Its messy with my additions and thoughts and working notes . Ive recently discovered that you can use the script without video source attached and it will quite happily generate video if you comment out the part that states  ' image(video, 0, 0);' by using // .This is what piqued my interest in revisiting this way of working as I'm more and more drawn to black and white and its possibilitys (video of that below before the script ) 


** The script is below this - tested and running on Processing 3.5.4 with video libraries installed you should be able to copy and paste this into a fresh blank sketch in processing  **


import processing.video.*;

PImage img;
PImage edgeImg;

String imgFileName = "face";
String fileType = "jpg";

// from pixelated_video

int signal = 0;
int numPixelsWide, numPixelsHigh;
int blockSize = 2;

color CaptureColors[];

// change values in matrices below for different effects
 //below is reference matrix for bw convolution with no input image ie self generating
//float[][] matrix = { { -0.75, -0.6, -0.4, },
                     //{0.1, -1, 1.9,  },           
                     //{ 0.1, 0.8, 0.7, }  };
                    
 float[][] matrix = { { 0, -192, -1,  },
                     { 1, 2, 0,},
                      {0, -10, 700,  }
                    
                       };
Capture video;                  
                 
void captureEvent(Capture video) {
  video.read();
}
void setup() {
  size(720, 480);
  noStroke();
  video = new Capture(this, width, height);
  video.start(); 
 // saveFrame("face.jpg");
 
}

void draw() {
 
    {
  
   
   
    //comment out first statement below (starting with image) to get bandw no image convolution only      
   image(video, 0, 0);
      //filter(POSTERIZE,4);
       //filter(INVERT);
       //filter(DILATE);

    saveFrame("face.jpg");
   
   edgeImg = loadImage("face.jpg");
  
    edgeImg.loadPixels();
   
    
   
  
      
  // Calculate the convolution
  // change loopend for number of iterations you want to run
  int loopstart =0;
  int loopend =4;
  int xstart = 0;
  int ystart =0 ;
  int xend = 720;
  int yend = 480;
  //  'int matrixsize = ' is number of rows down in matrix.
  int matrixsize = 3;
   
  // Begin our loop for every pixel in the image
 
  for (int l = loopstart; l < loopend; l++) {
  for (int x = xstart; x < xend; x++) {
    for (int y = ystart; y < yend; y++ ) {
      color c = convolution(x, y, matrix, matrixsize, edgeImg);
      int loc = x + y*edgeImg.width;
     edgeImg.pixels[loc] = c;
    
     
    }
       }
      
        }
  // image(edgeImg, 0, 0, edgeImg.width, edgeImg.height);
  
   int count = 0;
  
   numPixelsWide = edgeImg.width / blockSize;
  numPixelsHigh = edgeImg.height / blockSize;
 // println(numPixelsWide);
  CaptureColors = new color[numPixelsWide * numPixelsHigh];
 
   // loop for pixelation set block size
   for (int p = 0; p < numPixelsHigh; p++) {
      for (int q = 0; q < numPixelsWide; q++) {
        CaptureColors[count] = edgeImg.get(q*blockSize, p*blockSize);
        count++;
      }
    }
    for (int p = 0; p < numPixelsHigh; p++) {
    for (int q = 0; q < numPixelsWide; q++) {
    fill(CaptureColors[p*numPixelsWide + q]);
      rect(q*blockSize, p*blockSize, blockSize, blockSize);
     
    }
    }
  //saveFrame("face.jpg");
    //saveFrame("image####.jpg");
   }
    }
color convolution(int x, int y, float[][] matrix, int matrixsize, PImage edgeImg)
{
  float rtotal = 0.0;
  float gtotal = 0.0;
  float btotal = 0.0;
  // change 'int offset = matrixsize' is rows across matrix
  int offset = matrixsize / 3;
  for (int i = 0; i < matrixsize; i++){
    for (int j= 0; j < matrixsize; j++){
      // What pixel are we testing
      int xloc = x+i-offset;
      int yloc = y+j-offset;
      int loc = xloc + edgeImg.width*yloc;
      // Make sure we haven't walked off our image, we could do better here
      loc = constrain(loc,0,edgeImg.pixels.length-1);
      // Calculate the convolution
      rtotal += (red(edgeImg.pixels[loc]) * matrix[i][j]);
      gtotal += (green(edgeImg.pixels[loc]) * matrix[i][j]);
      btotal += (blue(edgeImg.pixels[loc]) * matrix[i][j]);
    }
  }
  // Make sure RGB is within range
  rtotal = constrain(rtotal, 0, 255);
  gtotal = constrain(gtotal, 0, 255);
  btotal = constrain(btotal, 0, 255);
  // Return the resulting color
  return color(rtotal, gtotal, btotal);
}
 

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Amber - towards an archival operating system.

What is Amber and who is it for?

I use Linux almost exclusively, either Devuan or Parabola. Devuan because it doesn't use systemd which I'm inherently suspicious of as it goes against basic unix philosophy of  "do one thing and do it well", more on that here and here  . I've found on the whole Devuan and non systemd based distros  faster and more stable than say Linuxmint or anything Ubuntu based on the second hand or trash picked machines I generally use . Parabola is stupidly fast ( and comes in systemd and non systemd versions), but takes longer to install and is a rolling release model as opposed to Devuan's stable release LTS ( long term support) model. The advantage of using Devuan ( or Debian or Ubuntu) is that releases are supported for longer and those projects maintain usable archives of older releases meaning that old versions though no longer supported can still be installed and used and packages installed from those online archives.

Devuan addresses for me the disadvantage of working digitally from an artists point of view that software and hardware changes over time. As software and hardware changes so does my ability to continue working in ways that I've found productive. Web cams in particular and certain capture cards that I have based a lot of my work on (and still do ) have mostly had kernel support dropped in the recent past . Examples of that would be ffmpeg dropping support for codecs like libschroedinger. Yes I can download and recompile that from the original source code ( if those sources are still available) but then I'm left with two installations that I have to swap between. Another example is  gtk-recordmydesktop the gui frontend for recordmydesktop, a piece of software I've used a lot for screen-capturing playback of hex edited/datamoshed video that won't bake ( re-encode)  in the same way using handbrake or even ffmpeg itself , that disappeared from most distros repos a while back (though the cli verson is still available the gui version made life much easier). You could ask , well why don't you use obs-studio , and yes on my newer machines I do, but older machines though capable pf running newer versions of devuan ( and Parabola - its hilarious to see that parabola will boot on an old dell dimension 3000 with a single core ht processor from 2003 ) will not run obs-studio as the processors dont have the correct instruction set extensions - so something like gtk-recordmydesktop is pretty indespensible As my work is glitch based a lot of the time the effects that I get are dependent on quirks in software or hardware , if those quirks are removed then that software becomes unusable. Also gtk-recordmydesktop records in ogv format which when played in gnome-mplayer on older versions of linux like Ubuntu 10.04 and Ubuntu 6.04 give some really interesting playback flaws.

I had to find a way of recreating/preserving the environment I had been using up until quite recently so that I'd be able to be able to use  those techniques and ways of working in a form which could run from either DVD or USB stick, and also be installable to be able to keep on reusing older hardware.


Amber is a project I've been working on for the last six months or so. and is based on Devuan's first release Jessie which in turn was Devuans first release after the split with Debian over systemd . I've found it works very well on older hardware, and has support for my various circuitbent webcams and capture cards ( which newer versions of linux and windows do not) - its not to modern and its not to old. I do have various machines running Windows Xp , Ubuntu 6.04/10.04 and various community versions of Puppy linux ( legacy os 2017 and Legacy os 4 mini ) all of those I keep around in installed and live versions because of the various software and hardware flaws I've discovered over time that I use in my work. 

Find Devuan here https://www.devuan.org/

Find Devuan Jessie here  https://www.devuan.org/os/announce/stable-jessie-announce-052517

Find Amber here  https://archive.org/details/snapshot-20220607_2202

Installing from scratch

(This isn't a beginners guide I'm presuming you have a basic understanding of Debian based systems, partioning, installing and how to configure and troubleshoot them). 

If you have found and downloaded the original ISO for Devuan Jessie and burnt it to DVD ( Important note here from experience use DVD not USB for installation  as post-installation Devuan will look for the packages on DVD not USB until you have it set up even if you used USB to successfully install) I have also discovered that during installation it will ask if you want to use a network mirror, say no obviously as the original mirrors /etc/apt/sources.list points to no longer exist as Devuan Jessie is now archived - the archives are there but old install media won't see them. That will make the install possible - if you specify to use a network mirror the installation will possibly fail. But that also means after installation you may not have networking as it won't install network manager etc. You will have to do that manually and thus you need the DVD because that has the packages you need post-install).

It makes life easier after installation if you have both a root account and a user account ( there are quirks in Devuan Jessie which need root approval even though you can install without root and using sudo). After install you will have to  keep that DVD in the drive to install stuff to get online and  its the only media your apt sources list will see , install network-manager and the gnome equivalent notifier ( they are on the disk) using apt get install  then change your apt sources list to this ....

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 1.0-final _Jessie_ - Official amd64 DVD Binary-1 20170522-03:57]/ jessie main non-free

#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 1.0-final _Jessie_ - Official amd64 DVD Binary-1 20170522-03:57]/ jessie main non-free

# jessie-security, previously known as 'volatile'
# A network mirror was not selected during install.  The following entries
# are provided as examples, but you should amend them as appropriate
# for your mirror of choice.
#
 deb http://archive.devuan.org/merged jessie          main contrib non-free

then do sudo apt update but you will also have to download a more modern devuan keyring
( from here  https://www.devuan.org/os/keyring ) and either do

 dpkg -i devuan-keyring_2017.10.03_all.deb (as root).

or install gdebi and do it that way - after that you do 'sudo apt update' again and you shouldn't get warnings about unverified sources ( which is why you need the new keyring)

***************************************************************************************

The iso I have made can be run as a live DVD or installed to a hard-drive using the included refracta installer ( hint open a terminal while running from the live DVD and type in 'sudo refractainstaller' and follow the on-screen instructions carefully) with added applications for making glitch art video, sound and stills ( and gifs via ffmpeg or gimp). Its a snapshot of a working system that I created as a personal archive of tools, ideas  and scripts (see script section and the processing sketchbook in the home folder) before the tools and repositories that I'd been using for a few years changed or disappeared into the mists of time. It is both documentation and archaeology as it took a while to put together (given that software toolsets change quite a lot, to get the video function in processing working for using webcams meant finding an earlier version of the processing video library as the current version as of spring 2022 won't work with the gstreamer version that Devuan Jessie comes with so in processing when it asks if you want to update to a newer version of that library don't).

The machines I used up until quite recently were low end core2duos (ie the pentium version with lower cache size and slightly more sluggish), socket AM2 single core or duel core Athlon's (or even final run socket 775 HT pentiums) and the software and hardware I used reflected this. I felt I needed to put this together so I would have a record of how I worked and the possibility of continuing/recreating that if circumstances required it without having to root around looking for the various software versions installed here.

It also serves as a proof of concept for working in a sustainable way with older or recycled hardware, there is a glut of low end computers being sent to landfill, and if through personal circumstances  someone ( or me ) can't afford an even modest 2nd or third gen i3 or newer it means the barrier to entering into making glitch art or digital art can be made lower. This operating system as set up is usable on a modest Thinkpad T61 with a 2ghz core2duo and 4gb of ram from 2008 ( I have run this version of Devuan on a pentium 630 ht with 2gb of ram and spinning hardrive)

You don't have to use the version of ffmpeg I've installed  (4.4.1) I've downloaded a few versions ie 2.8 / 3.4.9 and 4.4.1, 2.8  is one that allows using of obscure codecs like  libschroedinger ( that disappeared from newer versions of ffmpeg in favor of dirac which does not behave the same way at all when hex edited) but doesn't have ffplay functionality. I've compiled 2.8 and 3.4.9 and run make on both but not sudo make install - if you need to use that first navigate to the ffmpeg 4.4.1 folder in Downloads run sudo make uninstall then find the ffmpeg  2.8 folder and run sudo make install. Or if you don't want to go that far find the 2.8 folder in downloads  place the video you want to work in there and use it in that folder i.e. as a stand-alone. I've compiled ffmpeg 4.4.1 with support for cavs ( reading  and encoding).

Fun fact to install FFmpeg with ffplay support you need to have libasound2-dev
and SDL2 compiled and installed, more info here:
https://www.programmerall.com/article/8543614812/

This Distro remix also has build-essential and most build tools like cmake, nasm, yasm gcc etc included, and also ruby for using aviglitch. I have bookmarked links to websites in Firefox which might give some insight into how this distro was put together . So if you wanted to recompile ffmpeg or install software from source you should be able to do that within the limitations of the distro itself .

Why Devuan ? I started experimenting with Devuan around the time this version came out ( 2017?) and discovered it worked really well on lower end machines, its fairly conservative in its approach and rock solid, and not using systemd  seems to give an extra oomph with older machines, and to be honest I like Devuans philosophy. There is also the wonderful refracta toolset to consider, Refracta being a spin of Devuan , the refracta toolset makes it stupidly easy to make snapshot isos of a running system which is also installable, so I can make new snapshots of the system as I refine it and use it as a basis for archiving and reproducing my working methods and tools over time without having to desperately search for archives of programs or tools on the way back machine . 


I've never been a fan of rolling distros as they often break a method that I've found of working with an update and I was getting pissed off with the way that my previous distro of choice, linuxmint started to go, vlc in Mint became unusable and newer versions of linuxmint and Debian just didn't seem as snappy. Another important reason for using this version of Devuan is that it excels at recognising and making usable older webcams, a lot of my work is based around circuit bending old webcams and for some reason this version of Devuan has recognised and allowed me to use more than any other Distro I've used and as a bonus it supports older TV capture cards ( PCI and USB ) which are handy for capturing from other computers via vga to composite adaptors, or just capturing old VHS c input or even old VHS or satellite boxes - just because something is old doesn't mean it isn't useful,  often the textures I find using these old things are more interesting than those I get from newer HDMI capture methods.

Who is it for?

Primarily its for me as an artist working with open-source tools and recycled /obsolete hardware to make glitch art. These are the tools I've used since 2012 or so in various forms and on various distros. This remix draws all of them together so that I have a snapshot and usable environment to document and save those tools in case I need them again, so its part documentation, part archaeology and part useful toolset, the way I've put it together means it can be installed and used offline if need be without an internet connection as most tools neded are here. If somebody else finds it useful or helpful that's also good.

Notes on the software.

As I said I've compiled ffmpeg  from source but with the cavs encoder as well ( cavs is pretty awesome and another of those things getting harder to track down as it seems to be discontinued development wise ) so you can checkout the xavs source code via subversion on the commandline - doing this 'svn checkout https://svn.code.sf.net/p/xavs/code/trunk xavs-code' compile that then compile ffmpeg with support for xavs more info here

 
I also I had to compile avidemux from source as Devuan doesn't have it in the available repositories and I wanted the lower version as newer versions are not useful for datamoshing ( version installed here is version 2.5.6 download source code here http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/download.html and follow instructions for compiling here , though they are for 2.6 version , Make the bootstrap.sh script executable then do sudo './bootstrap.sh' it can take a while to compile . after its finished it leaves and executable in /usr/bin which you can call from the command line by doing ' /usr/bin/avidemux_qt4' but thats clumsy - if you edit a desktop file as per https://www.internalpointers.com/post/add-new-menu-items-xfce-menu that makes it turn up in the multimedia menu in xfce, which is what I did here by writing and editing a .desktop file and placing it in /usr/share/applications ( as root) referencing the icon from the downloaded and unzipped package in home.

Everything else is pretty standard, gimp with gmic plugins , audacity and sox ( sox is useful for sonification) and standard office stuff like libreoffice ( with english dictionary ) calibre, and suchlike for editing documents or putting together epubs . I included Netsurf and Links2 also as I find them aesthetically pleasing.

you might find hard to find multimedia binaries and codecs not installed here
https://archive.deb-multimedia.org/

I did want to include ctwm in this but opted for TWM as ctwm keeps crashing on Devuan Jessie and I havent yet been able to work out why ( plus Jessie has no binaries for lxdm that I have been able to track down and ctwm works in the way that I want it to with lxdm not Slim ). There will be a 32 bit version soon and a second version of Amber that I'm working on which does include ctwm and lxde based on Devuan Ascii - but they are not ready yet when they are I will post links here.

Crash-stop spring 2022

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

The Internet made me - I will destroy you.

The internet made me , I will destroy you .

 

Abstract

1) Aesthetic vs academic – the rise of net art and glitch art in particular have called into question the need for or relevance of academic institutions and qualifications to practice an art form that institutions and the art establishment in Ireland either seek to ignore or subvert to their own purposes , watering them down and realigning them to the traditional art historical agenda , the travesty of the ‘post internet’ label cooked up by galleries to institutionalise and profit from net art.

2) Contrasting of ways of working though co-operation online in social media groups such as Glitch arts collective , the sharing of ideas and tools and methodologies in a free and open-source way , self organising events in contrast to the way the traditional art world works ie the Wrong Biennale, Spamm Super Modern art museum , online exhibition spaces created during the pandemic such as Fubar 2020 and Fubar 2021 modelling buildings and environments to recreate no longer accessible spaces.

4) Open source tools and knowledge of coding, scripting, software and hardware/operating systems /networking ( physical or social media corporate or fediverse ) as being the new artistic literacy and spaces of importance in opposition to the traditional tools, perceived route of approved learning and spaces of legacy art which are required by away from keyboard old school tie networks and privilege .

5) The current state of the digital and netart spheres being ignored by established bodies In Ireland other than that which can be easily academicised in favour of Creative Ireland like agendas which seek to turn Irish arts into heritage rather than think of where the arts In Ireland could be going , or that can be codified into yet another academic paper or jargoned up for the latest open call.

( authors note numbers in brackets within the text are links to websites or resources - full links in the footnotes)

The internet made me , I will destroy you .

My working name is crash-stop , a name I’ve been working under for the last year.I have explained the circumstances of how that came about elsewhere (1) but for now lets start with what I am and what I do.

I am not an academic, nor am I a researcher in the traditional sense thus this paper does not conform to the ‘correct’ academic format. My research is for me and others that might find it useful, to that end I share my work and research under creative commons licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (2)

My position as an artist can be summed up by quoting Jean Dubuffet in his 1951 essay ‘Anti-cultural positions’ (3)

the values celebrated by our culture do not strike me as corresponding to the true dynamics of our minds. Our culture is an ill-fitting coat–or at least one that no longer fits us. It’s like a dead tongue that has nothing in common with the language now spoken in the street. It drifts further and further away from our daily life. It is confined to lifeless coteries, like a mandarin culture. It has no more living roots.’

I find it hard to relate to the concerns of most art made and exhibited within in Ireland, its concerns and interests are for the most part not mine, its structures and language seem insular, overly academic, self-perpetuating and hung up on notions of Heritage and nostalgia.

I make Glitch art. I share that work online. One of the challenges that we must face in the digital art world is that the unique work as a copyrightable thing is redundant as a concept. Creative Commons which came about via the work of Lawrence Lessig (4) and the ideas of the Free Software Movement (5), is one way of dealing with that . Creative commons licences vary but have at their core these four freedoms as defined here (6)

1)The freedom to use and perform the work

2)The freedom to study the work and apply the information

3)The freedom to redistribute copies

4)The freedom to distribute derivative works’

I’m also an associate member of Format C (7), which hosts and runs the biggest and longest running festival of Glitch Art in the world Fubar (8)

‘“Format C” is a non-profit artist organization based in Zagreb, Croatia (EU), active in the area of visual and multimedia art. The Organization’s focus is in new media art experiment and non-profit collaborative cultural creation.’ with support from the Ministry of Culture, Croatia.

The main project I’m collaborating on at the moment is the online/offline Formatc project medialab , Suda. (9)

What is Suda ? – Suda can be seen as a server / manifesto as installation art. It’s online, accessible via browser at suda.formatc.hr ( when running) and offline via prebuilt live and installable Linux iso’s that run on any x86_64 computer capable of running a fully libre os. It takes the form of a multi-user collaborative desktop environment built on Parabola Linux and ideas outlined in an initial manifesto document (10) and on the ideas of libre-culture and libre-software. Decisions as to design and implementation were taken collectively during weekly online meetings via the BBB ( big blue button ) open source meeting software (11) running via Format C’s own infrastructure. Collaborating on Suda, and especially the interface design and shell-scripts that make it work the way it does has been one of the biggest influences on my own work in recent years.

The way that Suda functions is very visual, and deliberately frustrating to use , part performance , part manifesto and highly interactive, what you do on the screen becomes the work (12)

I find it paradoxical that as an artist based in Ireland I’m an associate member of an arts organisation based in Croatia and not part of any arts organisation in Ireland. Giving up traditional media in 2012, I found traditional galleries unreceptive to what I was making but online spaces welcoming and receptive.

Working online has given me a community, tools, and audience that I have not found in the Irish arts world. Its not just me, new artists that you do not know of are sidestepping traditional routes into art by picking up a smartphone or laptop and just making.

This environment teaches the skills and tools needed and provides and creates the aesthetic and critique, and has developed in parallel to the traditional art world, if, as I believe, these new aesthetics will come to predominate our visual culture at least, it will replace that which has come before. The need for the traditional cultural institutions that bring on and foster the new generations of artists is gone, all that is left for them is heritage and investment art because they no longer speak or understand the language.

Notable exceptions to the lack of representation of digital arts In Ireland would be the work of aemi (13) which though not focussed on digital work exclusively I have found to be open and accessible and welcoming.

I also see a ray of hope in the programs of CCA , Derry-Londonderry (14) which are forward looking and welcoming of digital art especially the recent (15)Tilt at windmills’ exhibition curated by Mirjami Schuppert which could teach Creative Ireland, the organisation, a lesson or too about relevance where rather than focussing on ‘heritage’ culture it seeks active engagement with the past in the form of using footage from the UTV archive from the 50’s to the recent past as a starting point.

Also worth noting are the Foundation series of exhibitions held in Tullamore Co.Offaly from 2013 to 2016 (16) curated by Brendan Fox (17) were innovative and contained a large amount of digital focussed work, its also the only time I have exhibited my own Glitch based work in a gallery setting in Ireland.

But I could also point out ongoing online initiatives such as those run through Domenico Dom Barras white page gallery network here (18) , which in its exhibition from March-April 2020 online - ‘OUTBBBREAK’ group show hosted by Altered_Data's WPG ( white page gallery) curated by Domenico Dom Barra, was as far as I know the first exhibition in response to the pandemic (19). There is a medium article on wpg here (20).

Or Spamm Super Modern Art museum (21)

And of course the hypercurated version of the Facebook group ‘Glitch artists Collective’ (22) which chooses and promotes an artist of the month on Facebook and Instagram, whose work is then stored on the hypercurated GAC , its kind of a critical acknowledgment by the community of work which is deemed to be interesting and/or groundbreaking and as such serves as a guide to trends and quality within glitch art itself.

Or the ‘glitch art is dead’ series of exhibitions , organised and curated via online communities (23) and showcasing work made internationally.

And of course The Wrong biennale (24) – which needs no introduction or explanation.

All of the above are products of and organised through online communities which for the most part work outside of the established art world and have very open and accepting curatorial policies in contrast to my experiences within Ireland – I have found no parallel initiatives organised from or in the island of Ireland.

During the pandemic many traditional art festivals and galleries had to move to working online, an environment which we as digital artists already inhabited, trying to recreate a traditional gallery environment. Compare Birr vintage weeks online gallery environment here (25) with Fubar 2021 here which should be live still to June 2022 (26) and a quick snapshot video here if no longer available (27)

Birr vintage weeks online gallery created an explorable walk to view works in an accessible and easily navigable way, but in a generic gallery environment which bore little resemblance to its real life settings in old buildings and the wider environment of Birr , essentially an off the shelf generic online gallery . Fubar 2020 – 2021 took a different approach by recreating the internal physical environment of Fubar ( akc medika (28) ) and surrounding buildings ( which had been hit by an earthquake in 2020 and rendered the traditional venue unusable ) using photogrammetry and other data within the game engine unity , a gamified exhibition with respawning and teleporting etc. The Birr vintage week approach subconsciously says this is temporary and second best, the Fubar space asks what we can make with this, the exhibition environment created I would argue being a work in itself.

Notoriety would go to Rua Reds ‘Glitch’ series of exhibitions from 2012 until 2018 (29) , which although being groundbreaking in representing digital art in general to an Irish and international audience, are notorious in online circles for using the word ‘Glitch’ and not including glitch art in any measurable way. Though the work is digital the word ‘Glitch’ it seems has been knowingly (?) co-opted because for a while that was a buzzword which caught attention.

The Creative Ireland initiative itself continues to plumb the depths by forcing Irish arts into a heritage cul de sac as in this recent call from my local arts office ( identifiers redacted )


Creatives Practitioners Support Scheme

Call for applications 2020

Note this has a quick turn around and closing date.

( redacted) have been awarded additional funding from Creative Ireland to support creatives in accessing the resources and materials needed to reassess and re-examine their ways of working and dissemination in response to the Covid-19 restrictions. (redacted) County Council Creative Ireland are therefore in a position to award grants of up to €1,000 to creative practitioners working within the heritage and arts sector.

Heritage includes the following - monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects including archives, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats,landscapes, geology, heritage gardens and parks, inland waterways, folklore and local history.

Art can include any creative or interpretative expression (whether traditional or contemporary) in whatever art form, including; visual arts, theatre, literature, music,dance, opera, film, circus and architecture, and includes any medium within those art forms.’

When did artists become ‘creatives’ and note also the use of ‘Heritage and art sector’, art being second to heritage

As Creative Ireland's own website (30) states:

Creative Ireland is a five-year Programme which connects people, creativity and well-being.

Established in 2017, Creative Ireland was born out of Ireland 2016, the hugely successful state initiative to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising. The Programme drew inspiration from the extraordinary public response to the Centenary and the thousands of largely culture-based events exploring issues of identity, community, culture, heritage and citizenship.’

The original Ireland 2016 program was a good thing but taking that forward to what seems to be nothing short of a realigning of the Arts in Ireland to serve a particular narrative, the narrative of heritage, tourism and well being seems like mission creep of the worst kind. Much of the art I look at and enjoy these days plays with notions of nostalgia, especially tech nostalgia, but it seems to me the arts in Ireland are in danger of being suspended in aspic.

For a more interesting take on creativity, inclusivity and openness we could look at Brendan Fox’s initiative games for artists and non artists in association with IMMA

Which started pre-pandemic offline but then online here (31) though the work included is not exclusively digital art it could only have happened during the pandemic via digital media and specifically what we call social media and it is all the better for that. Interestingly the newer offshoot of that project ‘Museum of everyone’ (31a) is part funded by Creative Ireland and is a good example of a well made and inclusive project but I would argue that the need for Creative Ireland as opposed to more direct funding for the Arts Council and its projects is up for debate.

The new artistic literacy is learned online.

To be literate as an artist I was taught art history, techniques, a spirit of enquiry, critique and craft, to know these things was seen as essential. What then is essential to be considered literate as a digital artist

Most of what I have learnt about digital art and specifically glitch art, has been learnt online – not through college or courses or workshops run by the various arts organisations in Ireland, but through looking at and making work in response to ideas and interaction with artists on Facebook groups like Glitch Artists Collective (GAC) , (32) Glitch artists collective tooltime (33) ( the primary source for many tools and ways of working ) where work and tools and methodology's are shared , passed around and discussed.

Quite often these methods and tools are not the proprietary ones you would expect, or the operating systems you might think, often they are open source tools such as ffmpeg, python and scripts the community itself has created on top of open-source software or operating systems like Linux ( the Medialab project Suda is built on a fully Libre operating system called Parabola Linux (34) ) – this should be important to the ethos of digital art in general – locked in SAAS (35) like Adobe products or paid for Windows solutions or closed ecosystems like Apple products limit entrance to digital art to those who can afford them and limit the imagination of those who use them.

The network I have built up around me of artists I know, work with or talk to is almost entirely formed through online interactions. Having been a very active member in many of these groups I am not aware of any great number of Irish artists working in this field compared to say those from Eastern Europe, America, France or South America. Those Irish artists work I have encountered through say VAI (36) or arts articles or reviews who may have glitch art or digital media within their work tend to couch their own work as being an extension of traditional media or that weird term ‘New Media’ with a suitably wordy and impenetrable text which aligns it with the language of art criticism, or art-speak, which to me often seems quite exclusionary.

I find it telling that that it took a pandemic for excellent talk series such as the Ncad facilitated 2021 ‘digital cultures webinar series’ (37) to take place. But still its concerns to me seemed overly academic and behind the curve, debate around these topics have been ongoing online for some time.

The work of Elaine Hoey (38) can be seen as work which reflects some of the common themes of glitch art and digital art present online in work by Dafna Ganani (39), Elena Romenkova (40) and Dawnia Darkstone (41), and the work of Wednesday Kim (42) outside of the online world these ideas seem exotic in the online world they are everyday .

The gallery language used to describe Elaine Hoey’s work ‘mimesis’ from 2021 (43)

The work also investigates new technologies such as facial capture, 3D scanning and virtual reality, developing works that examine the digital human, avatar performance nature and techne[3], reality and simulation.’

is informative as to the processes used but misleading as to the newness of the technology – these have all been techniques used explored and discussed in depth previously, there is no novelty here why then present it as such? And for that matter Why should current themes within digital art only gain validity when placed within an irl gallery context?

There is also strong work being made by Joanna Hopkins such as the ‘Empathy Machine’ (from 2015) (44)

Or the photography of Moon_Harpy (45) which reflects ‘Themes of cosplay, fantasy, Sci-fi, LARP etc’ which are also present in the ( non digital ) works of artists such as Rebecca Deegan (46) Moon_Harpy’s willingness to experiment can be seen in her tutorial on GENERATMES’ FM glitch art processing sketch tutorial here (47) which is highly valued in the online community.

Or the work of 4th year photography student Caleb Daly (48) which shows a willingness to experiment and integrate some of the ideas and methodology of glitch art but within the format of digital photography as an addition to expand the visual language used rather than a total commitment to glitch as an end in itself ( note also the use of altered typography one of the themes of glitch art itself).

And of course the work of Shane Finan (49) who not only works with digital media but also actively uses and supports opensource and creative commons idea and uses PeerTube (49a) and Mastodon (49b) – parts of the fediverse (49c) trying to break free of corporate social media control. A recent exhibition at the leitrim sculpture centre here (50) . Interestingly the Eu is starting as an organisation to actively promote these platforms as alternatives to American based social media platforms which can only be a good thing (51)

As the traditional art world that predominates in Ireland is very much stuck in the past and the online world or work by Elaine Hoey, Joanna Hopkins, Shane Finan and Moon_Harpy and many others could be seen as what is current we need nothing less than a drastic realignment of structures and values if we wish to continue to foster a thriving arts scene in Ireland where artists are seen in the everyday rather than having to work abroad or be committed enough to work in the shadows.

Thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic was the idea that online was thought of as second best, a substitute for when things get ‘back to normal’ I would suggest that online is and has been for some time a better space to exhibit and show work , is much more open and collaborative than any real world space currently in operation In Ireland.

Meanwhile art is being made constantly and furiously online at a hectic pace and watched on devices and made on devices at right angles to the establishment, be it Tik Tok videos, memes blog posts YouTube videos and a million and one other forms which seem to splinter and propagate while the arts establishment keeps on doing its thing and slowly becoming ever more irrelevant to everyday audiences – because art made and shared online is infinitely more democratic and has infinitely more cultural impact than anything made now in any physical studio in Ireland – The public experiences the digital arts in Ireland on an everyday basis in myriad online spaces but will achieve mainstream visibility only if it chooses to break away from or take over the narrative current In the established Irish Arts institutions.

But what need do we have for cultural institutions which do not reflect culture ? Or for that matter what need do we have for institutions which teach art which is no longer relevant or a feeder unit for investment art when with a smartphone, an app and a decent peer group online I can learn what I need to know to make art and share what I know ? What about criticality and in depth discussion and tutoring ? Where then will that take place ? I would contend that that is already occurring in online groups, and its language and criticality is separate and evolving away from standard arts education terms in favour of an open and evolving self education.

Footnotes and links.

1. https://crash-stop.blogspot.com/2021/04/well-how-did-i-get-here.html

2. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

3. https://www.austincc.edu/noel/writings/Anticultural%20Positions.pdf

4. https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10519/Lessig

5. https://www.fsf.org/

6. https://freedomdefined.org/Definition

7. https://formatc.hr/

8. https://fubar.space

9. https://formatc.hr/medialab-2021-diwo/

10. https://pads.ccc.de/sda-manifesto

11. https://bigbluebutton.org/

12. https://youtu.be/Yuj_nUcYPLI ( video of running instance of Suda).

13. https://aemi.ie/

14. https://www.ccadld.org/

15. https://www.ccadld.org/exhibitions/tilt-at-windmills

16. http://www.foundationartsfestival.com/about/

17. https://brendanfoxart.com/About-Brendan-Fox

18. https://www.facebook.com/groups/whitepagegalleryz.

19. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10163244648785307&set=g.333063917586602

20. https://domenicobarra.medium.com/white-page-gallery-art-curating-and-human-values-8f119f4729e1

21. http://spamm.fr/ -spamm super modern art museum.

22. https://www.facebook.com/glitchartistscollective hypercurated version of Glitch Artists collective.

23. https://efenkay.net/glitch-art-is-dead

24. https://thewrong.org/

25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKHYJ9gndoU&t=2736s

26. https://expo.fubar.space/ ( Live till June 2022)

27. https://youtu.be/v9e77XfPReI video capture of Fubar 2021 in case exhibition is unavailable.

28. https://www.facebook.com/akc.medika

29. http://www.ruared.ie/gallery/exhibition/glitch-festival-2018

30. https://www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/

31. https://www.instagram.com/gamesforartistsandnonartists/

31a. https://www.museumofeveryone.com/

32. https://www.facebook.com/groups/glitchcollective

33. https://www.facebook.com/groups/GACToolTime/

34. https://www.parabola.nu/ Parabola Gnu Linux

35. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_as_a_service

36. https://visualartists.ie/

37. https://www.ncad.ie/gallery-event/view/digital-cultures-webinar-series-2021

38. https://www.elainehoey.com/

39. https://dafnaganani.tumblr.com/post/134196441283/pleasurepack-mediated-performance-with-dolphin

40. https://www.instagram.com/romenkovaelena/

41. https://letsglitchit.com/ - Dawnia Darkstone

42. http://spamm.fr/stream/?g=27# Wednesday Kim – The Aesthetics of being disappeared.

43. https://www.elainehoey.com/about-3 – Mimesis

44. https://www.joannahopkins.com/the-empathy-machine

45. https://www.instagram.com/moon_harpy/

46. https://www.instagram.com/rebeccadeeganartist/

47. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi4ce5DTWks Moon Harpys Fm glitch art processing tutorial.

48. https://www.instagram.com/calebdaly_/

49. https://shanefinan.org/

49a. https://joinpeertube.org/

49b. https://joinmastodon.org/

49c. https://jointhefedi.com/

50. https://www.leitrimsculpturecentre.ie/whats-on/exhibitions/detached-touch Shane Finan – detached touch.

51. https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/04/28/2128204/eu-joins-mastodon-social-network-sets-up-its-own-server












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