Viewing posts by Paola Torres Núñez del Prado

[email protected]: Glitch Art in Peru

In the 90’s, for many teenagers in Lima the pleasure found in viewing distorted images through accidental or induced errors – for example data loss, abrupt voltage changes and other induced bugs – could have a rather anecdotal origin. At this time an individual could find an adult cable-channel, of which the signal that reached a television was distorted or ‘glitched’. Teenagers would wait anxiously for the cloak of night's silence or the going-out of parents to watch this distorted erotica. In these brief moments the combination of fear (of being caught out), sexual groans hidden in white noise, and the images of naked bodies distorted by a lack of decoding, mixed teenage libido and thanatic drive in what later would turn into a mature taste for visual distortions. This is one of the reasons why, in the upcoming years, many of these teenagers found aesthetic value in the deformation and destruction of reality’s digital reflections. As one of these teenagers myself, this experience serves as the start of the framing the developments in Peruvian glitch art, not only from primary sources but personal experiences.

[1] Still from porn video modified by using different compression methods, Paola Torres Núñez del Prado, 2008

It takes a mere visit to Lima to understand why ‘glitch art’ appeared relatively early there. Lima is an extreme city in which visual and audio pollution prevails; there is widespread chaos in traffic, architecture and society as a whole. In the 80s and early 90s the cities functionality was broken up with blackouts; each of these blackouts had a direct causality from the bombing of a high-voltage tower. These blackouts triggered what can only be understood as a ‘glitch’ in the city itself. In this sense, glitches have the capacity to evoke far more than mere aesthetic qualities, it can embed images an aura of familiarity and nostalgia.