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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)"  [full text .pdf]
    Millennium Film Journal, no. 65, (Spring 2017) pp. 54-63

  • 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


    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.

    Illustrator Glitch Experiments

    story © Michael Betancourt | published March 15, 2021 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    Here are several experiments with generating glitches using software that isn't normally engaged for glitching, Adobe Illustrator:

    read more

    Abstract Photography - on The Decadent Review

    story © Michael Betancourt | published August 3, 2020 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    The Decadent Review has a short essay I wrote on abstract photography.

    Abstract photographs undo any certainty about reality; there is nothing to return to, nothing to unmask. The abstract photograph is itself, not a depiction resembling something in the world. Those contents its audience might think they recognize becomes the same uncertain visualization that metamorphic images and optical illusions pose: while there is clearly an image, what it shows is open to discussion, moving within boundaries fixed in such a way that the images seen are not the image shown . . .

    GLITCHASEMICS by Marco Giovenale

    story © Michael Betancourt | published May 23, 2020 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    The Post-Asemic Press has released the book GLITCHASEMICS by Marco Giovenale with an introduction by Michael Betancourt!

    Asemic writing is a type of disturbed writing / criture that cannot be read since it belongs to a completely unknown language, or a language that one is not capable of deciphering, like a set of glyphs or letters coming out of a long lost enigmatic script which resist any attempt at translation. If you disturb waves of asemic writing, it resembles a loud interrupting noise hitting a regular radio frequency signal, you get a double-coded textor image text(ure)s, which double as chaotic graphic micro-events. In this realm is where the "Glitchasemics dwell, with their shining overexposure to colors and extreme illuminated distortions, which also lead to bits of altered perceptions and flashes of already tangled alphabets. In this book there is no return to previously known languages, codes, or habits (even if they are experimental ones). From this point forward, the reader is left in this crossroad area of art and verbo-visual writing, and will encounter a post-literate path without explanation and/or translation, with its very identity asserting itself into the concept of translation, but remaining as an impossible task applied to impossible objects.

    on 'The Unheimlich Glitch' in

    story © Michael Betancourt | published March 28, 2018 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


    The journal has a theoretical essay of mine on defamiliariazation (Brechts Verfremdungseffekt) and glitch art (technical failure). Here is an excerpt:

    The postcinematic aspects of the Unheimlich glitch cannot be under-emphasized. It is precisely a product of post-digitality violating the established ontological order of cinemathe differentiation between Modernist conceptions of medium-specificity and the convergent break-down of those boundaries by computer technologycoupled with the expansion of its dispositive by the emergent identifications of ambivalent meaning posed by a metastable articulation. The specifically Unheimlich (uncanny) dimensions of digital materiality for cinematic ontology (as demonstrated by the glitch) resides in displacements of established lexical expertise that become apparent in defamiliarization. It is not mere materiality, but its role in interpretation that is essential. Connections to the formal medium masks the ideological and lexical dimensions of post-digital challenges, effectively emphasizing materiality to the exclusion of both critical and normative modes adaptation to immanence and maintenance of familiar order.

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