Post The Opposite of Mortem

It was a success. That much I can tell you.

I remember fragments. During the dress rehearsal, my computer crashed several times. I wanted to stay by my machine, watching over it in the hour leading up to the show, but at six o'clock the union rules said I had to get off the stage. I left my computer running, with the software open, and walked away. I wasn't allowed to get back to it until the show's intermission. In the interim, the power adapter to my laptop got kicked out by a passer-by, and when I got back to it, it was about to go onto reserve power.

Finally our section came. We followed the conductor out on stage. The video hurtled along, I felt like I was barely controlling it. The software, the video, the datamosh, all of it was just on the brink of collapse.

As it was supposed to be. When Dan and I were setting out to make this piece that was about data and deterioriation, we didn't want to illustrate what it might be like for electronics and data to seem to fail. This is something that comes up in glitch art quite a bit: if you control the break, is it really a glitch? If the art of something is in the unknown, the unexpected and uncontrollable, then what is lost if you claim dominion over it.

So there we were on stage at Carnegie Freaking Hall, Dan with these ornery toys that were fighting him and screaming at him, and me trying to almost-but-not-quite crash the software in front of a full house.

And it worked. It was a lovely thing. In flash it was all over, and we crossed the stage to shake the conductor's hand and take a bow, a moment I will always remember.

There's no record of the entire thing. There's an archival recording of the music, but that's not available to the public, we don't have a license to it. And the video, well, they don't let cameras into these places. The moment passed. It was this hyper-compressed energy shared between the performers and six hundred of our closest friends. It took me a month to recover and catch up with the rest of my life that I let slide while preparing.

And I want to do it again. Bring us to your town, I want to make it new all over again.

Glitchscape at Quark Nova.

The rest of the blog entries about Glitchscape.

"Making of" images: