Codes inform society, the economy, finance, law, and politics. They facilitate social practices of digital communication and choreograph their surveillance at the same time. Their operations, however, are subject to the contingency of unexpected malfunctions. In a technological context, these defects are referred to as “glitches” (such as image distortions or computer bugs) and have been artistically interpreted in various ways since the 1960s in the spirit of an aesthetic of error.

Radical aesthetics and the consequences of extreme events

Opening: 24 09 2015, 7pm


Exhibition Kunstraum NOE:
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (LB/UK), Ines Doujak und John Barker (AT, UK), Earth Sensing Association / Nabil Ahmed (BD/GB), Sylvia Eckermann (AT), Harun Farocki (DE), Thomas Feuerstein (AT), Forensic Architecture (Susan Schuppli, Eyal Weizman et al., UK), Christina Goestl (AT), Ayesha Hameed (CA/UK), Mathias Kessler (AT/USA), Mark Lombardi (USA), Jennifer Mattes (DE/AT), Gerald Nestler (AT), Godofredo Pereira (PT/UK), Axel Stockburger (AT), Technopolitics (AT), UBERMORGEN.COM (Hans Bernhard & Lizvlx, USA/CH/AT)
Performative interventions (co-curated by Gerald Straub):
Bernhard Garnicnig & Lukas Heistinger (AT), Manu Luksch (AT/UK), Gerald Straub (AT), UBERMORGEN.COM (Hans Bernhard & Lizvlx, USA/CH/AT).

Performative workshops (co-curated by Gerald Straub):
Heath Bunting (UK), Pablo Chieregin (IT/AT), hoelb/hoeb (AT), Elvedin Klačar (BIH/AT), The Yes Men (USA), Stefanie Wuschitz (AT).

Performance (co-curated by Bettina Kogler, WUK.performin.arts):
Ursula Endlicher (AT/USA) with Frans Poelstra (NL/AT), Deborah Hazler (AT)

Sound art(co-curated by Georg Weckwerth, TONSPUR Kunstverein Vienna):
Volkmar Klien (AT), Szely (AT)
CURATED BY: Sylvia Eckermann, Gerald Nestler, and Maximilian Thoman.
CO-CURATORS:  Bettina Kogler, WUK.performing.arts (Performances), Gerald Straub (Interventions, performative workshops), Georg Weckwerth, TONSPUR Kunstverein Vienna (sound art)



Codes drive imaging media in science, art and architecture; inform economy and politics; facilitate social practices and digital communication; define the New Aesthetics of algorithmic procedures. Their discrete operations, executed in between processes of modeling, evaluation, debugging and optimization, are, however, subject to the contingency of unexpected events and failures. 

“Glitch" is a term that denotes electric and electronic malfunctions in information data flows. Against the background of a world of experience shaped by technology and media, the term describes flaws and blurs manifesting in image interferences and bugs, amongst others. While they display undesired problem areas in the art of engineering, their effects and artifacts have been made the material of aesthetic experiments in media art and related fields since the 1960s.

Increasingly, however, The “peaks” of these glitches,  flash over and affect the social realm. SOCIAL GLITCH, therefore, takes such events as its starting point for an actualization and reconsideration beyond media-immanent questions. Instead, the project focuses on new approaches from different artistic fields that address the performance of events, which in a kind of “negative transcendence” exert their influence into society and individual biographies. Thus, they reveal central issues at stake today, be they caused by defects (such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill), produced deliberately (such as manipulations disclosed by Edward Snowdon) or the result of algorithmic forms of speech (such as financial flash crashes). We coined the term “social glitch” to address these events and occurrences in terms of a historic-technological continuity of intensifying escalations. 

SOCIAL GLITCH assembles artistic projects that range from subversive and playful interventions, fictive and performative narratives to speculative experiments and research-based visualizations and interpretations of factual circumstances. The common theme behind these different approaches is an (often activist) engagement with and a radical interest in the “deep horizons” of the sea changes we are witnessing today, together with attempts to “enhance the resolution” of what we perceive and how we might thus improve knowledge and informed decision-making. The (media) aesthetics of error, which have shaped the glitch theme in recent decades, are expanded and differentiated in favor of an aesthetics in the field of consequences to evoke and formulate concrete social and political potentials as well as artistic ones. 

Hence, SOCIAL GLITCH examines the controversial consequence whether art still delivers radically critical aesthetics beyond the interests of the contemporary art market by taking a leading role in conceptualizing and focusing our perception for cultural, social and political change.

An exhibition at the KUNSTRAUM NIEDEROESTERREICH, Vienna 
with projects in the public space of Vienna, at the Buchhandlung Koenig/quartier 21 (MuseumsQuartier Wien), the WUK, and on continent, the para-academic online journal for thinking through media.


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