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Movies by Michael Betancourt
 Going Somewhere
 exhibitions [pdf]




archives begin in 1996

on Glitches, Postcinema & Postdigital Aesthetics

I have been working with glitch techniques since the 1990s, first with analogue photography, then with digital imagery:

  • Glitch Art in Theory and Practice:
    Critical Failures and Post-Digital Aesthetics
    Routledge, 2016
    ISBN: 978-1138219540

  • Harmonia: Glitch, Movies and Visual Music
    Wildside Press, 2017
    ISBN: 978-1479436095

  • "Critical Glitches and Glitch Art," Hz Journal, no. 19, July 2014 [link]

  • "The Invention of Glitch Video: Digital TV Dinner (1978)"  [preview .pdf]

  • Lardani's Signature: Technical Mastery and Apparent Glitch in Lardani's titles for Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly   [link] or [.pdf]
    Bright Lights Film Journal no. 81, August-September, 2013

  • An Easy 7-Step Protocol for Databending   [link] or  [.pdf]
    Signal Culture Cookbook, ed. Tammy McGovern, 2014
    ISBN: 978-0-9914917-0-4

  • The Kodak Excerpt (detail), Michael Betancourt, 2013

    More articles and translations are posted on


    Modernism = "Cinema"

    story © Michael Betancourt | published February 12, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    Cinema has always been linked to Modernist aesthetics: the definitions of commercial film, the avant-garde film, and video art as autonomous, independent and entirely separate from each other argues against their contextual influences and the hybrid crossings between them. The historical organization of cinema as a serious art form in the 1960s and 1970s linked the earlier selections of great films to an explicitly Modernist conception of motion pictures as an essentially realist, narrative form whose connections to the American art critic Clement Greenbergs teleological purity was revealed by the parallel articulation of the structural film in the avant-garde cinema by P. Adams Sitney. This Modernist heritage shapes the debates over postcinema, a reflected in the great films re-used as foundational axioms. This conception of cinema makes the contemporary challenge by digital technology emergent in postcinema inevitable as this model requires a denial of the convergences created by computer technology.

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    Postcinema: Naming the Glitch, New Aesthetic & Post-Digital

    story © Michael Betancourt | published July 25, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    The convergence of immaterial digital processes and the physical world is an increasingly obvious part of everyday experience, and has been steadily getting more attention since the start of the twenty-first century. There is nothing new about this relationship, which has been developing since at least the 1980s, but what is of interest is how these developments have stopped being new and simply become a part of everyday reality, accepted and largely ignored as just an aura of the digital. The variety of terms attempting to name these developments reveals the different approaches and concerns of the people introducing them: as challenge, as celebration, as philosophical shift.

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    Flow and Friction: a thesis on tactical glitching

    story © Michael Betancourt | published July 24, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    I recently read my copy of Vendela Grundell's book, Flow And Friction: On The Tactical Potential Of Interfacing With Glitch Art and was pleasantly surprised to see my critical framework for considering 'glitch art' being applied to a new area, web design. I would be interested to see her analysis applied to media works as well, rather than just publications, but I can see the importance of art history working with web media. I am glad to see more work being done on the convergence of glitch processes and tactical media.

    'Glitch Art' as a Movement?

    story © Michael Betancourt | published July 10, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    Recently, I was asked during the Q&A after a talk if I think glitch art is a movement. The problem with calling the amorphous collection of people working with glitch art a movement is precisely its shapelessness: the things being done and called glitch art have been around and in use by artists since the late 1970s and first started to become prominent during the 1990s, emerging more-or-less independently in places as diverse as London, Chicago, Oslo and Miamiall places also associated with the use of glitches in electronic and avant-garde music. This plurality of origins makes any suggestion of a movement highly questionable: there were no manifestos, no proclamations that circulated across all these origin-sites. Instead, the use and embrace of glitches appears to have happened more or less simultaneously, as a result of the faults and failures of digital technology in the 1990s, especially the vagaries and interruptions common to dial-up internet access and the slow speeds of download that would often result in partial and damaged files. The embrace of glitch by this initial collection of artists (whose work from 2003 and earlier was collected in the Glitch: Designing Imperfection book) was highly dispersed geographically and aesthetically, even if they shared formal similarities because of the technologies involved.

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    My History With Glitching

    story © Michael Betancourt | published June 29, 2017 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    This collection of historical notes, written between 2012 and 2017, about working with and on glitches has been floating in the either/or for a while. Since there's mot much history of any kind about glitches before the late '00s, I'm posting this personal narrative. I just realized I haven't done anything with it, so here it is. These are some general historical notes about my own experiences with glitches and their use in my work starting in the 1990s.

    Still from Year (2003)

    I am not sure when I first specifically called this kind of work glitch, but the concept and the work it produced have been continuous features of my work since 1989. I know I was using the term by 2001, and I did a bit of writing with it in 2003 for the Miami Art Exchange when it was the only publication engaged with Miami Art on a regular basis (this was before Art Basel Miami Beach). The deployment of accident (chance) within carefully prescribed frameworks enabled the uncontrolled, chaotic features of glitch art to develop organically from my technical and technological process focused on using the looping methods learnt from video feedback as the protocol for making all my work: iteration, revision, recursion.

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