Information, Noise, et al.

“Information, Noise, et al.” Chapter in Error: Glitch, Noise and Jam in New Media Cultures edited by Mark Nunes, Continuum Press: New York, December 2010. ISBN: 978-1-4411-2120-2.

Over the last ten years the New Zealand artist’s collective et al. have deployed a series of gallery installations that operate at the edges of information and noise. These installations challenge viewers to engage with aesthetic tools that blur the disciplines, media, expectations, materials and models through which an artwork is viewed. The possibilities suggested are at once confusing and didactic. The experience becomes one of chasing a series of constantly changing informatic moments. In each of these installations noise infects the gallery either through the sonic intonations of large mechanical structures, or through the layering and erasure of objects within space. This essay weaves together a discussion of the viewer experience of three of et al.’s recent installations with a consideration of the histories of informatics on which they draw.”

If you have had enough of the logic of maximum performance, organized by process management and promoting maximum predictability and minimum error, this brilliant collection of essays is the book for you. Doubling the history of control through a genealogy of error, this collection maps the possibility of asystematic resistance in cybernetic networks, challenging the reader to imagine the liberating potential of going astray. Giving in to the pull of the unintended and the unforeseen, the glitch aesthetic of jams and hacks, errors and noise outlined in this book provides a possible model of flight from the terror of efficiency that haunts network societies.

— Tiziana Terranova, associate professor in the Sociology of Communications at the Dipartimento di Studi Americani, Culturali e Linguistici, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’

available from Continuum Books