Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Journal Title or Book Title





Publisher's PDF


In the decline of floppy disks, pixel art, and 8-bit video games (i.e., the 1990’s), emerging technologies routinely exhibited a plague of inexplicable glitches that would present the user with multi-colored screens, aberrant lines, and stacks of indecipherable characters. The fear of file corruption was lurking around every corner. We backed up our floppy disks onto more floppy disks, blew into our video game cartages, and added more random access memory (RAM) to our computers – all in the hope of eliminating the lurking presence of the glitch. But the glitches that once signaled the fear of data loss are now the substance of a multifaceted art movement: the very same aberrant colors, lines, and symbols comprise a collection of aesthetic practices loosely termed “glitch art.” With the rise of social media, the MP3, and high definition everything (i.e., the 2000’s), glitches are now created, sometimes in the very same pixilated style of the 8-bit microprocessors that reigned just a decade or two prior. The aesthetic force of glitch art in the present, however, produces more than a retrospective or idyllic gaze. Amidst a broad set of cultural and political interventions, glitch art is mobilized to expose the (dis)function of coding languages that allow for seamless digital experiences, redesign the 􀂀ow and tempo of our favorite songs, and alter the form and structure of our favorite websites. Whether glitch art is mobilized to expose code’s representative functions, remix digital aesthetics, or recollect an earlier digital fingerprint, “the glitch” is now an opportunity to criticize and recreate the flow of digital life. This is precisely what Rosa Menkman proclaims in her seminal Glitch Studies Manifesto: “Once the glitch is understood as an alternative way of representation or a new language, its tipping point has passed and the essence of its glitch-being is vanished. The glitch is no longer an art of rejection, but a shape or appearance that is reorganized as a novel form (of art).”

Related Pillar(s)


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.