Life During Quarantine – Glitch Art Expression

Play with the glitch art here.

What I did

  1. Programming

Duration

4 weeks

Tools

  1. p5Js
  2. JavaScript

Overview

In the Final Project for my Computer as an Expressive Medium course, we were asked to create an interactive web-based art generation project that generates glitch art using visuals, sound, or and/or text. The project used JavaScript and the p5.js library.

Glitch Art

Glitch art is inherently a critical process, as it is about questioning the norm and blurring the boundaries between society’s perceptions of technology and humanity. Other ways you can add critical consideration is what source material you choose to glitch, the process you choose to use for the glitching, and the interaction of the interactor with your glitch work.

Design Process

Originally, I wanted to use COVID 19 data to create a data visceraliztion and engage the emotional into visualization. According to Data Feminism, “visceralizations are representations of data that the whole body can experience, emotionally as well as physically – data that ‘we see, hear, feel, breathe and even ingest’.” (D’Ignazio & Klein). I wanted to use glitch art to compare the impacts of COVID 19 on different countries (USA, Taiwan, Brazil, South Africa, Senegal) to show who handed the pandemic “better.” Below is an excerpt from my sketchbook to shows how I originally wanted to display my ideas. 

After speaking with my professor, she recommended I create a project that was more personal.

Rather than thinking of how COVID has impacted the entire country, I considered how I have been personally changed. While I know COVID has changed my life, it was difficult to pinpoint specific ways how. Further, how to show emotion through glitch art. I narrowed down my feelings to a select few:

  1. isolation
  2. boredom
  3. lack of movement
  4. fear

The below sketchbook page is more the internal investigation to decide what I wanted to focus on displaying.

After a personal investigation, I decided to focus my attention on my relationship with my room.

I landed on my room as it is a safe space where I get to think, create, make, and live without judgment. Before COVID, it was my favorite place. However, after 9 months of living with a family, a single room started to feel too small. Quickly the place of peace turned into a trap and I was quickly bored of the same view day in and day out. Below are my notes for the final version of my project.

The Meaning Behind the Code

The number of videos represents the number of selves we all carry – a student, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an athlete, an artist, etc. All of those parts of yourself, that in normal times could be expressed in different locations, are now forced to be themselves in one room. This leads to a lot of collision and chaos that is not fun to look at after a while. 

I made the videos move just a bit and in sporadic ways to show how time is passing, but I still feel stuck in this time and place.

The change in the size of the video feeds is supposed to represent how big and small I feel in my room. Sometimes, life is great and I solved the hardest coding problems. Other days, I feel small and hopeless. Additionally, the jump between sizes creates a sort of glitchy effect that further adds to the anxiety. 

Lastly, I wanted to add the ability to slow down the glitch and movement. Even during this time of no movement, it was important to take time to breathe and accept the reality of the world. When you click on the video, there is a blend mode that contrasts the original image and video and causes the videos to slow down. Life is out of my control, but if I try to breathe I know I’ll get through it.