Smack My Glitch Up: when the internet meets art

A new exhibition from the mind behind What Do You Meme?

[U]nless you were living under a rock last summer, you would’ve seen the mass spree of people clicking ‘Going’ on a Facebook art event, no not Georgia O’Keefe at the Tate, but one at the little-known Copeland Gallery in Holdron’s Arcade, Peckham by 22-year-old creative Maisie Post. What Do You Meme? quickly went viral all over social media, and we interviewed Maisie just as the show was being launched in July.

An independent curator specialising in internet art, Maisie focuses on how new media can democratise the modern art world. Her latest exhibition, Smack My Glitch Up, explores the permeation of glitch art into popular culture; examples like Kanye West’s music video ‘Welcome to Hearbreak’ in 2009, or A$AP Mob’s ‘Yambourghini High’ of last year, even reaching Hollywood movies. The technique is now one available to anyone who can use a mouse or download an app (Glitché to be precise), no longer for those who can only code. Aka anyone can become a creator of internet art, “replicating the wider societal shift from a consumer to a ‘prosumer’ society”.

A$AP Rocky's 'Yambourghini High'

This movement seems to be causing a ripple effect in the art world, with more and more internet-based concepts being deemed exhibition-worthy. Recently, the Saatchi gallery opened From Selfie to Self-Expression, an exhibition focusing on notorious self-portraits over time. From Van Gogh to Kim Kardashian, Rembrandt to Tom Cruise, the show explores the history of self expression and its relationship to the changing internet culture.


From Selfie to Self-Expression

It’s not just selfies though, as we found out last summer, art-folk will clutch onto memes just as they once clutched ‘The Mona Lisa’. We caught up with Maisie Post to find out all about her latest endeavour, Smack My Glitch Up, and learn about why the art world is internet-obsessed.

After What Do You Meme? going viral last year, has it affected your creative decisions since?

What Do You Meme? went viral because it was a seriously popular theme. Memes are ever evolving, their self-renewing nature and democratic input is a good vehicle for all things current. To me this is a defining and fascinating trait of most forms of internet/digital art. This is what I’m interested in exploring over time, this time round it’s glitch art.

What do you feel you got out of What Do you Meme? Do you think it changed some perspectives on the internet being a form of art?

The internet is for everyone and people don’t always feel that way about galleries. It was important for me to see people that may not have felt comfortable going to exhibitions in ‘high-brow’ environments enjoying themselves at a somewhat higher understanding to usual private view dwellers. Less chin-stroking and more laughing. But, I got trolled a fair bit, some people felt memes should be left out of a gallery context and kept on screens. I think those people were overlooking one of the main points of the show though, that the internet’s opened the doors to a wider, more accessible art world.

Why do you think the internet is also affecting art so much recently?

Everyone can now have their say online, people can voice their opinions 24/7. It’s a big part of how people socialise today and is at everybody’s fingertips. It makes sense that it’s affecting art as people tend to work from what they know and experience, what surrounds them. What’s more, people in turn are being socialised by the internet, with the formation of trends in aesthetics and even vocabulary. Anything of such social influence will always be an appealing subject for artists.

Your new exhibition, Smack My Glitch Up, is focused on glitch art becoming a cultural trend. Why do you think pop culture has become obsessed with the disruption of digital image?

Aesthetics are a big part of it, as well as the idea of capturing a transient moment of disruption- that minute mistake- and elongating it, making it the primary focus. The distortion in a glitch nicely contrasts the perfection normally seen in digital images. 

What are your favourite examples of glitch art?  

I particularly like the developer Peter Norby’s iOs map images, he documents glitches in the maps on his Flickr. Plus any natural glitch that you see IRL, on walls from chipped paint, or on rainy days, the iridescence of water merging with oil on the road. Also, obviously the artists work in the show, they’re all super talented.

Peter Norby's iOS Maps from Flickr

If you could glitch up any famous piece of art in the world what would you pick?

Probably something by Egon Schiele. I think his self-portraits are already pretty glitchy, further glitching could be interesting.

What are you planning on working on next?

This show is at DKUK hair salon in Holdrons Arcade where people can get their hair cut in front of art, and it’s pay what you can for your first cut. I like the sense of community and the unexpected setting of an art gallery, a change from the standard white cube space. So I’d like to keep working in unusual spaces, and I’ll continue with my interest in the different types of era-defining social technology. Anything from AI to Tinder…

Smack My Glitch Up opens August 25th at DKUK Hair Salon in Holdrons Arcade, Peckham and runs until October 1st. See event details here. Check out Maisie’s website here.