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Error, the Unforeseen, and the Emergent, The Error and Interactive Media Art, by Tim Barker

Image: Participant in Blast Theory’s Desert Rain

Image and text: M/C Journal

The condition that marks the post-digital age may be the condition for error. In the condition where machinic systems seek the unforeseen and the emergent, there is also a possibility for the unforeseen error to slip into existence. This condition can be seen in the emerging tradition of artists using error as a creative tool. In his paper “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Music,” Kim Cascone points to the way in which composers, using digital means, exploit the inadequacies of a particular compositional or performative technology (Cascone 13). Cascone cites composers such as Ryoji Ikeda who create minimalist electronic compositions using media as both their form and theme. In these compositions, the errors, imperfections, and limitations of the particular compositional media are the central constituting elements of the piece. In addition to music, this glitch aesthetic is also exploited in the visual arts. Artists such as Tony Scott set up situations in which errors are able to emerge and be exploited in the art making process. In these types of work the artist’s role is to allow a glitch or an error to arise in a specific system, then to reconfigure and exploit the generative qualities of the unforeseen error.

Read the entire article: M/C Journal

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