Glitch Textiles Turns Corrupted Electronics Into Works Of Art

The dreaded glitch. A phenomenon of hidden errors buried deep within the motherboards of electronic devices most of us barely understand, the glitch usually results in an error message, a frozen screen, and a lot of cursing. But what if we embraced the glitch instead of avoiding it like the plague? What if we learned to see beauty in the distorted images of a corrupted piece of hardware?

This is the concept behind Year of the Glitch, a 12-month electronic art project by Phil Stearns, a Brooklyn based artist. The latest element of this long-term project is Glitch Textiles, an effort that seeks to turn the “dreams” of broken digital cameras into mesmerizing woven and knit fabrics.

Glitch Textiles, digital camera, art, fabric

Image via Phillip David Stearns/Kickstarter

“These blankets are layered with irony: a digital photographic image, made with an intentionally broken (rewired) camera, is mechanically woven or knit into a photoblanket,” writes Stearns on his website. In this project, a keepsake for cherishing one’s memories now becomes a platform for fashioning corrupted memory, the cold logic of digital systems into soft, warm blankets.”

Stearns recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help crowdfund money to take Glitch Textiles to the next level. He hopes to realize a new body of work for the Glitch Textiles project at the Audax Textielmuseum’s TextielLab through their artist residency program. Apparently, there are only a handful of places in the world offering access to computerized textile production equipment to independent artists, and TextielLab is one of the best.

Glitch Textiles

Image via Phillip David Stearns

“Literally weaving tapestries from the digital detritus of our techno-culture will give context to our cultural legacy and help preserve the spirit of our times for future generations,” writes Stearns. It’s certainly against our intuition to see beauty in what many would call “mistakes” but sometimes that which is broken can produce the most perfect art.

If you’d like to own some Year of the Glitch images or even your own Glitch Textiles blanket, consider backing the project on Kickstarter.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog