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archives begin in 1996


observations on my process

story © Michael Betancourt | published February 25, 2022 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


I make Glitch Art; my work pioneered this engagement with digital computers in the 1990s before it even had a name. The role of autonomous and automated systems in my work makes the question of my process something that can be difficult to articulate clearly. The way I understand these generative images as simply another category or type of footage, one that is abstracted, but is neither necessarily critical nor essentially broken shapes how I use it as both a formal model to emulate with the non-glitched, and as an abstracting protocol to employ against the photographic realism that might otherwise emerge in my movies. Those intentional factors constrain the glitched materials so they become cues for their audience that what they see is not merely a malfunction, but is consciously shaped and chosen. The glitch is a pervasive, even dominant, contemporary sensibility for all the ruptures, aberrations, transformations that technical processes createbecoming manifestations of our interactions with the world.

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Glitch Movies by Michael Betancourt on Blu-Ray

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 13, 2022 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Michael Betancourt is a Glitch Art pioneer who began manipulating digital errors in 1990. This US$20.00 collection surveys his HD movies.

These movies have shown in film festivals, art fairs, and galleries internationally, influencing the use of glitches in popular culture (such as in the title sequence to Amazon's sci-fi program The Expanse).

You can get the collection here:

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Metaphors for Vision

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 2, 2021 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


If one rejects or questions that idea that cinema can function as a metaphor for interior experience through the abstraction of the image, what remains to consider? This idea of cinema-as-metaphor is deeply ingrained in the aesthetics of avant-garde cinema and is one of the reasons for its fetishing of celluloid in opposition to electronic video and digital technologies. This heritage of Stan Brakhages work continues to haunt this genre of production twenty years after his death, effectively holding the third major variety of cinematic production, the poetic, to a set of aesthetics and propositions that were never as restrictive when they were proposed as they have become now that celluloid is obsolete.

The Instaglitch Project

story © Michael Betancourt | published October 12, 2021 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Now available for Pre-Order from! The Instaglitch Project presents a selection of 52 full color images from Michael Betancourt's "Instaglitch Project" that exploited the aberrant and unheimlich results of image handling and processing by the Instagram photosharing app-it derived novel examples of Glitch Art from the faults inherent to the iPhone system. This project uses these inconsistencies as a mechanism for aesthetic creation that provides evidence for the fantasy of control that the "walled garden" of apps create. The development of the Instaglitch offers a counter to this hegemonic ideology via a studio practice that exploits the Instagram app's very limited 'degrees of freedom' without altering the app itself or employing less restrictive software. These works are examples of how repeated processing and 'filtering' of the same image within the same system-a feedback loop-magnifies the instabilities inherent in its operations. The 2,600 works in this series of static images demonstrates programmatic failures that are masked by its normal use, but are systemic instabilities-their identification allowed me to generate works by manipulating their impacts on a blank (white) image.

Research Art - now available

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 17, 2021 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


My new book Research Art: glitches, poetics, typography and the aura of the digital is now available from! Full color illos, and only $24.95!

This book discusses linking theory and practice in a larger context of conceptual and theoretical concerns that are neither a statement of intentions, nor merely a subjective series of claims about past accomplishments. With 21 illustrations in full color, this book discusses his digital glitch movies, typoetry, abstract photography, and the Instaglitch series as direct examples of the connections between theory and practice, illuminating his proposal for "Research Art" as a domain equal to the "Business Art" familiar from exhibitions in the gallery-fair-museum network. Polemical and often challenging, it explores the role of expectations in making and interpreting art from the vantage point of the studio, rather than as a critic or historian, arguing that "Research Art" is the evolution of the critical position developed by Conceptual Art and Situationalism as the avant-garde program in art came to an end, an adaptation to the changed Contemporary reality of AI, globalization, and digital technology, an oppositional art made in the shadows of digital capitalism.