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    ouLANGltchpo = workshop of potential glitch language

    The goal of the workshop is to invent (and/or collate) constraints and systems which lead to the development of potential glitch language(s). These constraints and systems could take the form of written instructions, downloadable softwares, circuit bending diagrams, garment patterns, knitting stitches, contemplative exercises/practices, and/or whatever else. It could all be downloadable as one zip file containing pdf documents and executable apps, source code files, etc.

    {Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle: workshop of potential literature) is known for the experimental writing of its members, but really they didn’t meet together in order to write. They met to invent constraints. Following their constraints, one could then proceed to write, but their goal was to invent constraint systems which led to new forms of literature rather than produce finished works of experimental literature.}


    > A clear formulation of your motivations. How would the glitch community benefit from this working thread?

    We want to empower and commission the glitch community to confound current language systems, and to develop new language systems. At best, we will create a less simplistic, more nuanced world. At least, we break some things worth breaking.

    Our goal is to develop a set of provocative constraints (tools) that anyone can use to:
    * build completed works
    * glitch existing languages
    * create new glitched languages

    Participants will not make their own discrete artworks (per se). Participants will create a kit that others (and they themselves) can later use to make any number of discrete artworks.


    > What are the intended outcomes of the thread? How can the participants share this outcome as it emerges over the course of GLI.TC/H?

    We want to build a .zip file of constraints. Implementing these constraints will glitch language.

    During the conference, participants will develop and share constraints and systems. These could include written instructions, softwares, patterns, exercises, or whatever else.

    After the conference, these constraints will be published online as open and accessible resources (via a zip file, pdf document, website, and/or whatever media best suits the nature of the constraints that have been developed).




    hope iam not responding too soon (i.e., prior to IRL collaboration) to this thread.

    constraints (as borrowed from zaumnik manifestos, esp. the work of A. Kruchenykh): as indeterminant&fluid signifier-signified relationships, yet meaningful and rhetorical;
    introduction of new wordsphrasessounds in which conventions of time, space, etc. become slippery, unstable;
    employelements of dissonanceandconflictandnoise inorderto magnifyilluminateAndun-blackbox the materiality of boththeglitchandlanguageitself


    Thanks Steven. Right on.

    I’m just now posting a reading list topic. Could you add a link to some Kruchenykh texts online, or texts at amazon? Even a link to is a helpful starter.



    Both Patti Smith and Kathy Acker propose a type of writing in the state of orgasm to get  past, syntax, grammar, sense, and perhaps even language. I’ve always associated this idea with glitching language out of the body. Jean Genet seems to point to this as well.



    Key Master

    Hey Curt + Daniel + et al.

    i’m posting this here b/c I’m not sure if you’re collecting ‘propositions’ on any of the other posts… but here’s my input… it’s literal… but from what I gathered on oulipo resources… their constraints were often pretty literal ^_^ …consider this a proposition for a direction:

    var lngg = document.getElementById('lngg');
        var c = String.fromCharCode(Math.round(Math.random()*0x4589)-46);
        var v =e.keyCode;
        if(v == 65 || v == 69 || v == 73 || v == 79 || v == 85) {
            lngg.value += c;
            return false;


    • This reply was modified 8 years, 8 months ago by  nickbriz.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 8 months ago by  nickbriz.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 8 months ago by  nickbriz.


    I’m still trying to grasp what this all means, but perhaps this could be a good contribution: Comic Sans Must die is a project/netart/thingy that I’m launching soon that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at Comic Sans.

    Whilst not strictly glitch art (the gifs are being edited in a very predictable/reproducable way), it relates at it looks at the gradual degrading of symbols and language.

    The scripts to make this have already been made but haven’t yet been released. Perhaps they could be part of your zip?



    I’ve also been looking more into the performative side of language. Using a patch made in Pure Data I’ve been taking bits of text, reordering the words and spitting them back out. Example, Love Sonnet 18 by Shakespear:

    Nor nature’s thee fair summer day? in shall shall a too By gold shake all wander’st growest: course breathe art his is eternal of Thou darling And a fade lease Death I thee. shines more his and Sometime lovely shade to to dimm’d complexion fair hath see changing thou Nor When short more that sometime winds gives possession So thy buds of hot And can and Rough men long from long declines too eye May eternal life date: And But lose brag do temperate: or So can thou to time compare every or eyes summer’s owest fair this Shall this the untrimm’d often in lines summer’s heaven lives chance as not the thou of

    A less “extreme” version could be the reordering of lines. The same poem

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest: And often is his gold complexion dimm’d
    And every fair from fair sometime declines But thy eternal summer shall not fade
    So long lives this and this gives life to thee. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see
    By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade

    I do this for two reasons:

    1. teh lulz

    2. To bring emphasis to the loss of meaning over time and how computers can infinitely speed up this process. As the data flows through the program (Pure Data is a dataflow/mind map language) it only takes the wrong/right combination of commands to seriously mess things up


    Nick and Antonio, All of those are great.

    Nick, how would you feel about commenting the code? I’m just curious how you think it would affect the code (as a set of instructions, as a form of writing in and of itself).

    Technically, all code is in and of itself a kind of instruction already — an instruction to the machine. Daniel and I have talked about this some. So this ouLANGltchpo  thread is really dealing with (coming to terms with, defining) three fundamental things:
    1. what is language?
    2. what is glitch?
    3. what are instructions/constraints?

    and then several other things having to do with the intersection of those fundamentals:
    1. what is the difference between (mere) experimental writing and glitched language?
    2. what is the difference between instructions/constraints and the work itself?

    As I understand language, there are several ways to approach it:
    1. Language as a grammatical/syntactical system with semantic rules. This is Noam Chomsky’s way of thinking. it has to do with math and logic, so in a sense, with programming structures. this way is related to transcendence and metaphysics. It is a way of thinking about language as a rule set, apart from its immanent use in the lived world. English writers that really wreck language at this grammatical/structural level are Gertrude Stein and Samuel Beckett.
    2. Language as an uttered event in real time/space. This is Bakhtin’s way of thinking about it, and JL Austin’s way of thinking about it (to some extent). If the language is never actually spoken or read, if the code is never actually run on a machine or read by a human, then you don’t really have language yet. This has to do with immanence, affect, voice, bodies, the world, and performance.
    3. Language as a system of signs. This is semiotics and deconstruction: Saussure, Peirce, Barthes, Derrida. This has to do with what language winds up “meaning,” when it’s all said and done. This gets into glyphs and typography, even photography, and then media theory — because a photograph of a dog is no less a “sign” of a living dog than the written or spoken world “dog.”

    Of course, language is all of these three things, and they are entangled inextricably.

    So I really am open to approaching language from any and all entanglements of any of these perspective. So Antonio, degrading typography over time definitely qualifies. It seems related to Daniel‘s Entropy esolang ( ), but specifically applied to typography. And the poem permutations are very similar to cut-ups. cf: (a great resource).

    Our big question, then, is what do the GLEETCHES bring to language? Because people have been experimenting with writing for a long time. They have even been experimenting with computer-modified writing for a long time. The oulipo folks themselves were using computer software to modify writing as early as 1980. So a fruitful question may be:

    What are the relationships/differences between experimental (generative, alter-logical) coding practices and glitch? A more provocative/pointed question might even be… is an analog computer ( ) perpetually glitching? Which leads us back to the fundamentally annoying question: what are glitching?

    I don’t think we have to resolve all these questions to begin coming up with cool constraints. We just need to wrestle with these questions enough to allow them to provoke us into coming up with cool constraints.

    Key Master

    Dear Curt.
    I just read everything and its amazing, I am super excited about this thread and wish i could spend all my time just on this forum and during GLI.TC/H in the thread. Language is really an amazingly beautiful thing and I love that there are so many questions involving a system that actually everybody depends on. Maybe except only those we call ‘autistic’ or the ‘mad’, the outsiders of society.
    I just wanted to thank you because i just understood why I am organizing this again; between all the work I recognized the thoughts I love; very inspiring.

    I had to revisit some of my early writing; the glitch studies manifesto. I had revisited the manifesto not so long ago because i have been giving some talks about language and non language (what is non-language?) I will try to post it in these presentations in the near future..

    In the manifesto I end with some statements surrounding GlitchSpeak. Now I wonder again, what is the opposite of GlitchSpeak, what is the difference between Speak and Language; voice and grammar. Is it maybe performativity? What role does performativity play in glitch (ouLANGltchpo?)

    Speak the totalitarian language of disintegration. GlitchSpeak can (help to) democratize society. (What is democracy? what does democracy have to do with speech or language? – oh that might be beyond the scope of the quest for this thread; or is it just a system?).

    GlitchSpeak is a system that follows some rules and breaks with others. The people that speak don’t know what rules are on what side of the line. Its constant jazz (yep – there you have it. I wrote jazz. maybe what i meant to say was glzz, maybe not) In doing so it continuously creates new expressions; it is an always growing language… Sometimes its kipple, sometimes its poetry, sometimes its spam sometimes its a holy grailch.

    The GlitchSpeak expressions teach the speaker something about the inherent norms, presumptions, permutations? and expectations of a language or of society. It teaches what is not being said; what is left out, ignored, unspoken.
    How do dialects play a role? And what about cliches?

    Glitches do not exist outside of human perception. What was a glitch 10 years ago is not a glitch anymore. Glitches expose some thresholds of language. they show where language expands or is being confined. They shows if its system(s?) follow the rules of NewSpeak or OldSpeak – <href> 1984, Orwell </href>)

    The ambiguous contingency of glitch depends on a constantly mutating materiality; the glitch exists as an unstable assemblage; its materiality is influenced by on the one hand the construction, operation and content of the apparatus (the medium) and on the other hand the work, the writer, and the interpretation by the reader and/or user (the meaning) influence its materiality. Thus, the materiality of the glitch art is not (just) the machine the work appears on, but a constantly changing construct that depend on the interactions between text, social, esthetical and economic dynamics and of course the point of view from which the different actors make meaning.

    A cloud of terms: language, materiality, performativity, system, speak vs language

    I speak 2 languages fluid. I speak 3 more languages ok. I read write or murmle at least 5 extra languages when i put my mind to it (I am thinking now, more, i didn’t count, i just think)
    often i don’t just speak a language anymore, but what do i speak then?

    Is language still they said it was?
    What did they say it was?
    What is it now?
    How has it changed? Why has it changed?



    @Rosa + @Curt,

    so, in a 101 (ntro) sense, we always describe a ‘glitch’ as a break in a system, and in the same 101 sense, we explain that one benefit to breaking the system is to become aware of it (i.e. that systems–their politx, assumptions, and influences–often go unnoticed), and that this awareness of the system might grant us some perspective/context and perhaps a kind of (missing) digital agency.

    @Curt, I’m xcited about how these constraints/experiments might grant ‘participants’ (on this thread and beyond, via the proposed ‘tool-kit’) a kind of perspective on this particular system’s (language) influence on ‘em, in (for example) the way Rosa implies.

    so, to my sketch/proposition, did you (and/or other folks) follow the jsfiddle link? if you type into the text field (on the right) it’ll screw w/your writing (in a very straight fwd way), in this case by swapping every instance of a vowel w/a random unicode character. Not the most interesting constraint by itself. My proposal is more for a model which could become a part of the ‘tool-kit’. What if a constraint was a javascript function? What if we start a topic on this thread specifically to collect/suggest constraints and then these can be translated into single functions (we don’t all ‘speak’ javascript but enough of us do I think to make this work, I know Daniel has already experimented like this). We could collect these constraints(); and then interface with them in different ways (the most obvious would be by typing, but of course the functions/constraints don’t have to be limited to this) and they can be shared/exhibited in different ways as well.

    …just some ideas.

    I’ll try to formulate this a bit more (with code) and post bax here soon.




    Key Master

    woops!!! Identity Crisis!!!

    loox like Beth had left herself signed into my account on my other computer when she visited. The above post was me… not sure how to use my admin-powers to change that o_O

    …figured yawl would assume that… but just want to clarify



    Rosa: yes to the idea of dancing on the liminal line between language and not language. The Certeau essay ( ) particularly addresses this. He talks about two approaches toward speaking in tongues:

    Way 1: “a transition from a can not say  {c(S)} to a can say  {c(S)} by way of a can say nothing {c(S)}, itself supported by a must say  {m(S)} and a believe in saying  {b(S)}, as if the obligation and the belief compensated for the absence of meaningful statements and authorized the utopic space offered to voices.” This way has to do with tears.


    Way 2: “[its] foundation is an absence of obligation (a permission to
    fool language) rather than an obligation (to say), and an incredulity (a lucidity about the non-sense of meaning) rather than a belief (in the spoken word). This way has to do with laughter.

    It seems related to the way in which you describe your multilingual experience. If you just begin directing your desire to “mean” something toward some language by opening your mouth and emitting sound, something will eventually happen in the world (the beer will get purchased). I speak little Spanish and almost no Portuguese, but I remember having a conversation with a taxi driver in Sao Paulo who spoke Portuguese, better Spanish than I, and almost no English. We wound up talking about how great Elton John melodies were. (At least I think that’s what we were talking about.) I thought about it later and wondered how on earth we had that conversation.

    We suppose that the willful intention of the speaker is somehow essential to the conveyance of her meaning. But (as Derrida observes) there is always some slippage between the intention of the speaker and the meaning conveyed. Derrida goes so far as to argue that this slippage actually creates meaning and allows languages to function and evolve. Eliminate the slippage, and you don’t wind up with a perfect signal (a vulcan mind-meld). Instead, you wind up with a dead language (which is no language). From this perspective, language is always already “glitching” all the time.


    Nick: yes, I love the idea of constraints in the form of code syntax that actually runs (or in the form of pseudocode that can be translated into a language syntax that actually runs).

    And I like glitch defined as an interruption in the flow of a system that foregrounds the theretofore hidden workings of the system (I would only add to the everyday users of that system).


    thanX all for this conversation

    I too want to understand more about the relationships between languages in regards to gltchNg. If we take away that the language is meant to work or mean something – that it carries some significance or specific meaning – then it gets to noise right? is there anything in between? something not noise not signal? what can be communicated in this between/boundary?

    Moderator (watch 1:30-2:20)

    Bill (and all), this is documentation of part of an installation I did. This piece is striving for that in-between. It oscillates back and forth between legible words and abstract lines, but the lines are made up of the words. The typeface is my own handwriting. The piece is written in processing and is generatively calling in a limited group  of words derived from an even more limited source group of words.

    So the software itself is not glitching, but maybe the piece is meant to glitch the human cognitive hardware of the viewer, like op-art for language ([L]opArt?).


    I am just now having a chance to read through all this. :) Maybe off topic –> but I keep thinking about nonverbal language and what those constraints look and feel like.

    And I keep thinking about “message never received” –> the flip side of communication — active and passive nothingness.

    I heart the channel Beth moment @Nick.


    constraint-based systems applied to nonverbal language! matthew barney ( ) + sign language? bondage facial gear + flaneur ( ) eye contact flirting? constraint-based system applied to fabric arts? Heading into one my favorite realms — Ben Marcus fiction:


    Key Master

    think there are some connections here:

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