Rosa Menkman has a great article on furtherfield about the parallel, yet conflicting worlds of the demoscene and glitchscene(s). Focusing on Blockparty 2010 at NOTACON, she aptly captures the interesting divergence/convergence that has emerged from criticalartware‘s recent involvement in the demoscene and recent articulation of glitch art/ware. The timing of the conversation was perfect and coincided with Rhizome putting focus on the demoscene.
CA can also be described as an investigating of standard structures and systems. They are often amongst early adopters of technology, in which they (politically) challenge and subvert categories, genres, interfaces and expectations. But the CGA – artists do not feel stuck in a particular technology, which makes it aesthetically, at least at first sight hard to pinpoint a common denominator.
There is not a real organization within this scene. The artists and theorists are scattered over the world, connected in fluid/loosely tied networks dispersed over many different platforms (Flickr, Vimeo, Yahoo groups, Youtube, NING, Blogger and Delicious).
After stepping away from the criticalartware project, awhile back, I was super excited to be involved with the critical glitch artware category this year! Many of the NOTACON participants are professionals in worlds of making computers work: computer security, programmers, technicians, sys.admins, etc. These worlds are ones that many of the criticalartware crew inhabit or have inhabited. I personally have found inspiration in system administration, technical problem solving, and researching solutions for myself and others. By bringing these inspirations to NOTACON, the criticalartware crew provided (and celebrated) a unique (and contrary) position on making computers “work”. Glitch is universal, we have all had computers fail us. I had some great conversations with people about bug collecting, curating, and creating. By sharing glitch art/artworks/artists with folks, we opened ports for discussion that may not traditionally happen at an events such as NOTACON. By modding a hotel suite into a hacker/glitch gallery, we opened a back-door to the NOTACON/Blockparty scene.
The demoscene could be described as a ‘polymere’ culture (solid, low entropic and unmixable), whereas CGAC is more like an highly entropic gas-culture,
There are obvious differences in approaches between many of the demo folks at Blockparty and CGA folks. I feel that Rosa’s statement captures it nicely. Many demos are built around notions of efficiency, proficiency, and stability. The work brought by CGA illustrated proficiency and knowledge of how particular systems work, but their efficiency is arguable, and most are unstable Demos tend to be sympathetic to the hardware they run on; they strive to save cycles and efficiently get the most out of the box. CGA exists within sparks between cycles and uses computer trash (physical and digital) as both raw material and platforms.
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As I said in the group email interview conducted by Menkman, “Overall, I enjoyed hanging out with glitchy pals in a dark hotel suite with butcher paper on the walls, no furniture, a sink full of beer, and a TV beautifully blinking and blaring noise. It was a good weird… :)”