Phillip Stearns, glitch art

Phillip Stearns is an American artist with a nice line in glitch art.

Particularly relevant to our subject are the tapestry works called ‘Fragmented Memory’ (2013). They are based on extractions of his computer’s memory as images, which are then interpreted through specialist software for building textile patterns and fed to computer operated looms and knitting machines.


This work is an interesting echo of the origins of binary code being stored as punchcards, as in the Jacquard Loom, where wooden slats held ‘memory’ in the form of a punched hole (or unpunched hole) and resulted in a reproducible textile pattern.

His research description on his website is worth reading carefully:

Electronic media operate primarily on only two of our senses: sight and hearing. Though I work with media technologies, electronics and electronic media, I tend to focus on condensing these in such a way that the technologies, tools, and media themselves become entangled with what would normally be read as the content or the message. As electronic media (digital or analog), images, video, and sound become reduced to signal—a manifestation of some order defined within a certain system—Light and Sound themselves become raw materials for reconstituting electronic signals back into physiological experience. Value and meaning are derived from the situation of and the particular conditions facilitating processes of circulation, viewed as cascades of exchanges and mediated interactions.

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