AN INTERVIEW WITH OZ VAN ROSEN
Glitch' ɡlɪtʃ/informal/ verb / present participle glitching: suffer a sudden malfunction or fault. Commonly understood as a fault in an image, Glitch art leverages the corruption of data to create a uniquely unpredictable aesthetic, celebrating Technology as art. Oz Van Rosen, based in New York, sees Technology as artistic enablement of an unprecedented scale and her remastered Renaissance artworks push the boundaries of Image Creation. Beyond Photography had the honour to discuss her artwork with her.
"What is the inspiration/story behind your art?"
Photography has been a lifelong passion but glitch art was the beginning of my foray into abstract, experimental photography.
Recently my dad passed away. We were extremely close and my creativity originated from him. Seeing the darkness of death made me see colors in a way I’d never seen before. Being reminded of our ephemeral existence, I started producing art at a furious pace, not just as therapy to soothe my soul, but to make up for all the years I suppressed my art as an unproductive distraction.
I took a break from the corporate world and pursued my passion full-time. Working furiously for the first few months, I actually herniated three cervical discs from non-stop glitching into the wee hours of the morning. I was completely enthralled with the concept of photo destruction and subjecting my photos to the randomness of technology, creating compositions I never imagined possible.
"Could you give us a quick explanation of what glitch art is and how you define it personally?"
Glitch is all about randomly corrupting, bending and destroying data in a photograph or video to create an unpredictable aesthetic. It’s associated with highly saturated primary colours, pixelated, chopped up images and video streams. There are many ways to exploit a glitch for artistic purposes- the way I approach it is a little different than the 90’s computer glitch look. I enjoy taking something classically beautiful and reframing it in the context of today. Lines, liquefaction, geometric fragmentations, inversions, are my frequently used techniques. The beauty of glitch is that there are no rules.
The experimental nature of Glitch enables me to create completely unique images that defer to the whim of technology. Glitch is also a refreshing break from the pursuit of pixel perfect photography. Pixel destruction and regeneration is what we actually strive for and the results are abstract, surrealistic and non-repeatable.
I’ve always been an extreme science fiction fan and Glitch is a form of ‘tech art’. Imagining technology enhanced futures is a favourite pastime. I’d like to think my work is a commentary about both our future and past, our sense of control on technology and our complete lack of it. It’s an examination of both the scary chaos and the exciting potential created by technology.
Glitch gives me a sense of unpredictable digital chaos and, to me, reflects our ‘brave new world’.
"Do you reckon your work relies more on chance or on calculation?"
My work is a product of both my intention and my devices’ whim so it’s hard to quantify. It’s an iterative process. Sometimes I spend so much time setting up the shot, only to destroy it to create something completely different.
"What does your creative process look like?”
Although I work in many mediums, including paint, collage and drawing, most of my work is photo based. Often I set up photographic still lifes, with highly color saturated and textured objects, moving my camera on slow shutter to capture movement as if I was painting. I use painting techniques to inform my photos. Or I tap into my vast database of found images and street photography.
Once I’ve captured various compositions.. I move to the digital realm, and that’s when the magic starts. I glitch and re-glitch with my fingers or a pen on a digital tablet, just like a DJ mixes and remixes until it intuitively sounds, or in my case- looks right.
The results are real time and the pixels dance to the touch of my finger as if it were a paintbrush. It’s an awesome feeling to manipulate my photo and see the colours melting as if paint is being poured. Once the image is done, I often draw directly on the image, and as such, I enjoy blurring the lines between photography and other mediums. My giant dog by my side and music are always part of my creative process!
"Your remastered series are truly groundbreaking. What is the narrative behind them and how do you go about finding it?"
I have always loved Renaissance art which marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the early Modern age. Similarly, for me, Glitch marks a transition of modern art to the technological age. I want to bring a new appreciation to these masterpieces by re-inventing and re-mixing them as a tribute to the extraordinary Old Masters.
"What does Technology mean to you? Do you believe Technology to be an art form?"
Technology in the context of art, is artistic enablement on an unprecedented scale. Technology has profoundly changed how we consume /interact with and perceive almost everything, and it has also consistently advanced how artists express themselves.
Throughout history, technology has enabled artists with new forms of expression. The tube enabled outdoor painting. Photography, being able to accurately document reality- freed painters to pursue abstraction. Digitization similarity freed photographers from documenting reality and enabled us to explore abstraction, as well as other forms of tech driven art.
Glitching enables us to expand the traditional notions of photography as a medium for strict representation. “Techspression” is a term I coined to articulate the boundless forms of artistic expression enabled by technology. As such, perhaps we are now in the age of "abstract techspressionism"!