A dissonant feature of our relationship with technology is the glitch, which has become aestheticized in the 21st century. The glitch, narrowly defined, is a mistake or error on behalf of either software or the user. This aesthetic has many similarities with common aesthetic systems in photography, such as the aesthetics of chance or error found in toy camera photography.

In After Prokudin-Gorsky I have written software with the particular aim of creating glitches by manipulating the color of individual pixels. As input I have selected appropriated images from the Library of Congress, specifically the photographs of early color pioneer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky. The glitch highlights the artifice of digital media and the wide gulf between the digital image and what is represented in the photograph. Prokudin-Gorsky's 1905 visual survey of the Russian Empire is fertile ground for highlighting this physical and temporal rift.

My hope is to spur discussion about the epistemic and ontological values of the photograph in the 21st Century.

Using Format