5th International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 12-13, 2023

Entangled creativity: on the intersections of glitch, remix, and serendipity
Date and Time: 12/05/2023 (11:30-12:45)
Location: Online
Aaron Juarez
Keywords: glitch, remix, serendipity, art theory, creativity, interdisciplinary research

We consider the experimentalist as a generalized persona who may be a scientist or artist or somewhere in-between. When an experimentalist engages exploring their materials, they open potential for discovery. This exploration can be guided toward practical means, or can be more open-ended. This abstract considers the process of glitch, remix, and serendipity, as well as their intersections, in order to characterize how creative engagements can produce insights and discoveries. This investigation enfolds a theoretical and empirical lens by considering art theory, including glitch and remix, information science, rhetoric, and historical examples of individuals who find novelty through the unexpected. While the concepts of glitch, remix, and serendipity are all distinct, we explore the implications of their theoretical reach to find where they meet and overlap. In finding such junctures, we can see resonances and alignments. Glitch is widely characterized as processes or results that are unexpected and unpredictable. Remix emphasizes the transformation of available materials into something new by adding, subtracting, and reconfiguring elements. While serendipity has many flavors and definitions, it is usually characterized by interactions that give rise to unexpected insightful and novel occurrences, leading to discovery. In view of the intersection of glitch and serendipity, we consider how perceived failures or mistakes can lead to new inventions and discoveries. Through glitch and remix, we consider the blurred boundaries of transforming one’s imagery, for instance; thus, we problematize seeing glitch and remix as distinct processes. In remix and serendipity, we consider how variations, montages, and juxtapositions can result in the experience of novelty through affect, or the emergent “third meaning.” Through the connections of these three concepts, we can see how newness and innovation emerge from ‘failed’ science experiments to the experience of experimental art. In the course of this investigation, we begin to reveal a creative framework that is connected, entangled, and broad in an interdisciplinary sense. By problematizing notions of the ‘happy’ accident, serendipity opens up to seeing ‘failure’ as a means of opportunity for new avenues of exploration. In problematizing notions of the accident itself, we see how methodological approaches can result in serendipity as described by disjunctive strategies, which actively combine or juxtapose disparate perspectives and different configurations. To highlight the entanglement of this framework, in experimental interactions with digital media, such as the glitch process of databending where modification to the hexadecimal or binary structure is enacted, the result can be a transformation of the file that is sensorially perceived through nonlinear manifestations. This example can be seen as remix by interaction with the internal elements of the file that result in its transformation. This transformation, in itself, can be perceived as novelty in an artistic sense, and can potentially result in discovery, as breaking something gives the opportunity to observe its deeper operations and thereby gain insight as to how we might be able to use it in new and unexpected ways. This conceptual framework of serendipity, remix, and glitch brings value to alternative processes, experimental outcomes, and open-ended exploration and therefore enriches and encourages creative engagements that push and go beyond boundaries to receive the unexpected and unknown.

Aaron Juarez
Aaron Juarez is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher who experiments with digital structures to reach the unexpected. Their art practice synthesizes a range of artistic and scientific concepts to create, and he engages serendipity through experimental interactions across a wide range of digital media, including photography, film, and 3d models. They have contributed writings, code, and artworks to online venues and have exhibited internationally. His investigations challenge perceptions of functionality and naturalized experience by testing the limits of digital structures and encountering sublime moments by allowing nature and technology to speak for themselves.

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