A Few Updates

posted in: Exhibitions, Glitch | 0

I haven’t written anything in a very long time so I thought I should probably post some updates about recent developments in my life.

I have an exhibition running from October 8 – November 30th, with the Untitled Arts Society in their +15 space here in Calgary, AB. I will be exhibiting a series of images produced with CR2 glitches and a borderline abstract video piece to serve as dreamlike impressions of the changing self. You can find detailed descriptions on the Untitled Arts Society page.




The prints for the show came out beautifully. I was especially taken by their iridescent, pearl like quality. I had them printed at ABL Imaging – just like my MFA show – because I knew the kind of colour profiles these guys are capable of outputting on paper. It was critical for my pieces to be as vibrant and as close to the digital screen version as possible. They are available for purchase through my gallery: DaDe Art & Design Lab in Inglewood.


Hanging Prints


I have also started teaching an intro New Media course, at the U of L’s Bow Valley College Campus in Calgary in this Fall semester. I will be returning to teach another course in the spring semester as well, which will be entirely focused on principles of design. I am looking forward to diving deeper into Illustrator for that one.

I am also looking to start producing new work with a focus on the pixel as the building block, generating images and video that are more reminiscent of 8-bit graphics than polished hyperrealism. A sample of early experiments is below (titled “Anonymous”).

There are so many more ideas in my head, dying to get out and materialize, but there isn’t enough resources to make them happen quickly. I suppose such is the artistic process. I continuously write them down in my notebook and soon hope to get started on a few before the winter hits and takes all the light away.




Amsterdam Poster

posted in: Adventure, Photography, Posters | 0

My first time in Amsterdam left quite an impression on me and inevitably I came home with a ton of footage and photos. I thought a nice way to “process” my impression of the city would be to create a poster from the photos I took during the trip. I decided to stick to a nighttime theme since Amsterdam is known for this amazing artsy ambiance that doesn’t ever seem to die, and gets even more intense during the night. I promised myself that this is just something to tie me over until i look at all the footage and decide what to do with it. Results below.



15 Selves – Autoportrait with Glitch

posted in: Glitch | 0

Here are 15 results of a recent experiment with glitching older CR2 files. The vivid colors and the fragmentation of the image into two distinct fields – upper and lower – are characteristic of this specific file format.

This started as a purely formal exercise. It’s crazy to say but it was hard to narrow it down to 15 images! I bet some of these would look really nice as a metallic print. Hope you enjoy it!















































And one more, with the face/identity almost dissolved.






Red Swan

posted in: Posters, Video | 0

I recently dug through my photos and videos from my February Amsterdam trip and I found this video of a swan floating in a canal in the Red Light District.

I knew I wanted to do something abstract with it, so I sized down the video to a tiny resolution and then exported it from Adobe Encoder as a sequence of TIFFs. I sized up the TIFFs in Photoshop keeping the edges of the pixels sharp for a reason, and composed a video out of them in Premiere. The single frames themselves seemed quite interesting to me so I took one of them and made a conventional poster out of it. The goes to show that inspiration hits random sometimes, but it can lead to intriguing places.









Revisiting Photography

posted in: Photography | 0

I have recently looked through source images for my glitch projects and found portraits that I thought were interesting to look at. Photography is still a strong part of my artistic practice and I will continue to develop myself as an artist in that area.

In the meantime here is what I found.












Designing the Corrosive Moment – MFA Exhibition

posted in: Exhibitions, Glitch, Video | 0

My New Media MFA exhibition ‘Designing the Corrosive Moment’ took place on April 26-30, 2012 at the U of L Downtown Penny Building in Lethbridge and it featured themes of digital disruption, collapsed photographic realities, postmodern fragmentation, “apocalyptic” descent into noise and designing with digital error. The show included 47 works in print, video, interactive and two 3D pieces. The opening reception took place on Friday, April 27th, and I am grateful for all the support and kind words I received from everyone who attended.

It was intimidating to work with such a large space, and filling it with work seemed like a major challenge. However, when the set-up was done, all the walls (and some of the floor) were covered!

Being the first graduate student in the program, i got interviewed by some local media:

Article in the Lethbridge Herald

This student success story was written later by the U of L:

For Marta Blicharz, photographs are anything but black and white.

The images below document the set-up, and showcase some work from the exhibition.

To promote the exhibition I came up with 4 poster versions (interchangeable images) and put them up wherever I could.  People liked the first version the most.


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Here is the show write up, which appeared in shortened version in vinyl lettering on the wall, and in this full version in the catalog:


Regardless of what we think the year 2012 will bring, now is a good time to stop and think about the world we live in. Are we all aware that our civilization is supported by fragile, man-made, digital structures that exist among untamed forces of nature?

What would it look like if the visible world suddenly and unexpectedly disintegrated before our eyes? Would it be digital?

‘Designing the Corrosive Moment’ explores digital glitch as a disruptive force, an aesthetic agent, and investigates its role in designing a digital catastrophe. Although identifying the ‘natural’ and unpredictable glitch with intentional design is a paradox, much is to be learned from this phenomenon.

First of all, this collection of works attempts to portray what happens when undetermined and incorrect processes operating underneath the surface, accumulate and reach critical mass, causing the photographic reality to collapse under the vandalizing force of the glitch. This looming threat constitutes a catastrophic force of destruction, much like an earthquake. It is a moment of corrosion when represented reality, and all its presumed truths become dissolved by the entropic force of digital corruption in a colorful, acidic path of pixels and absurdity. It is an apocalyptic moment, because it is both a failure and a revelation of a system our civilization depends on.

It is also a moment of awareness since the destructive potential of the glitch exposes our illusion of control, our reliance on flawed structures and our false sense of stability.
Glitch is a nihilistic force that reveals the postmodern fragmentation of consumer psyche, causes disruption in communication, and engulfs the world in the apocalyptic noise where form, control and meaning are denied their operations. Just as the early punk culture embraced anarchy to bring attention to the meaninglessness of life, so does the glitch destroy or deny the authority of structures. But what if we accept it, and use it to decorate? This is how punk became popular while at the same time it ‘unbecame’ punk.

The imagery here oscillates between chaos and order, accident and intention, by harvesting glitches from their natural occurrences, stimulating them in digital files, and assimilating them aesthetically into visual content through intentional design.

As a result the corrosive glitch moves on a sliding scale from being an active ingredient in the process, to being an aesthetic shell where the visuals are only a faint echo of the original moment of disturbance.

So is this a show about the end of the world or the end of glitch? Both are the destroyer and the destroyed, a serious threat and an assimilated effect.


Everything started with a trip to Calgary to pick up my large pieces (ABL Imaging) and my exhibition catalogue (ARC). Thanks to Bram Timmer and my parents van, we got those safely to the gallery for the next-day set up. It took us two days in total to: paint the walls, unpack the works, plan out their layout, hang them, set up the projectors and TVs (Matt Fulton – New Media Tech Specialist at the university was tremendously helpful!), mount the titles and vinyl, set up the lights, and clean up. There were some obstacles along the way like crashing computers and finicky vinyl signage, but we managed to do everything just in time. On day two we spent 14 hours in the gallery with just a small break to eat dinner. Yup, exhausting.



The space and the exhibition was divided more or less into 3 parts based on the different kinds of processes that went into producing the content: natural glitch, stimulated glitch, and assimilated glitch, starting from the front entrance.



An example of one of the natural glitch works was this medley of distorted digital TV signals, which I caught on video sometime ago as part of my ‘glitch diary’ (documenting found glitches).



The ‘natural glitch’ space of the gallery showcased screen captures of desktop crashes, accidentally corrupted images, and two more video pieces: one documenting VHS tape distortions from a home video from 1990, and the other showing a broken digital sign at a parking lot entrance at the Stampede grounds in Calgary. Collecting these was fun.





Last minute I decided to include an interactive piece in the exhibition. It was a little webcam-based processing script that loaded 20 pre-selected images in random order every 45 seconds, and the movement captured by the camera randomly altered the black and white values of the pixels, obliterating photorealistic content of the images. This was an example of work from the “assimilated glitch” category, since the idea of brokenness, and the aesthetic of disruption was taken out of the original glitch context, modified and applied in a more conventional and systematic way without random error as the culprit.



Here’s a more detailed overview of the space. Among the large, mounted glossy prints, and small, unmounted metallic prints, there were also “sculptural” pieces, created or acquired based on the glitch or “trash” aesthetic explored in the images. The basic underlying idea was to display the disturbance of form, and make that disturbance a focus and an aesthetic detail.



Among the works above, the “stimulated” glitch category was also represented. In these large and small works, the errors were intentionally inserted into the images, but the final result was left as is, without any further “editing” or cropping to amplify the effect. I suppose, you could say the glitch was called or forced out of these digital spaces by intention, while the outcome was always a fascinating surprise.

The University set up a photoshoot for some promo materials for the MFA program. This is how a few months later – to my surprise – I ended up on a bus stop ad. In the picture on the left, photographer Jamie Vedres tries to get a good angle. On the right, it’s time for some gallery-sitting.



One of the last things to share – the video below is composed of a sequence of the same TIFF image progressively “mistreated” and set to a soundtrack made from the data of one of those TIFFs. A bit of a jarring experience, if you watch it.



I suppose by being so thorough, I couldn’t avoid creating a 60 page catalogue with all the works exhibited, and some background info, and which I happily parted with on donation basis (hey it helped me cover some exhibition costs!).




Make sure to check out the Work section of this website for more details on some of the pieces shown here. Thanks for reading!


MFA Exhibition – Promo

posted in: Exhibitions, Glitch, Posters | 0

‘Designing the Corrosive Moment’
Marta Blicharz

University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts
MFA New Media Graduate Exhibition

On view at the University of Lethbridge downtown Penny Building
324 – 5th St. South

April 26 – 30, 2012
1 – 4 pm

Opening reception:
Friday, April 27th at 7pm

Exhibition will be closed Friday afternoon in preparation for opening.

Marta Blicharz – ‘Designing the Corrosive Moment’ – MFA Exhibition

Marta Blicharz, the first New Media graduate student at the University of Lethbridge, will be exhibiting her MFA work on glitch aesthetics at the University’s downtown Penny Building from April 26-30. ‘Designing the Corrosive Moment’ will open on Friday, April 27th at 7pm, and will feature themes of digital disruption, collapsed photographic realities, fragmentation of postmodern psyche, apocalyptic descent into noise and designing with digital error.

The exhibition runs 1-4pm, Thursday to Monday except opening night. Please come and show your support to Marta as she nears the final chapter of her MFA program.

Marta Blicharz is a Polish-Canadian, traditionally trained visual artist, currently exploring computer graphics and photography. She employs databending and glitching to frame the subject of western consumer culture and explores the role of these methods in mainstream design. Marta is interested in how the glitch disrupts visual communication and the expected consumption of digital content by violently vandalizing the status quo of realistic representation operating in virtual space.

Marta acknowledges and thanks The University of Lethbridge, The New Media Department, Alberta Foundation for the Arts (Visual Arts and New Media Training and Career Development Individual Project Grant) in support of her MFA research.




Four posters were created in total, showcasing different works that were in the exhibition.








Salvage Yard Love

posted in: Adventure, Photography | 0

I suppose it’s cliche to say that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but it is true.

Last weekend Bram Timmer and I decided to go take some shots in the industrial park in Lethbridge, AB when we stumbled upon the National Salvage yard and luckily we got permission to roam around for a while.

There we encountered bent metal of all kinds, arranged in treturous mountains and accidental sculptures. It was texture and light that provided all the fun, so we were snapping quick to get as much in as possible.

The aesthetics of it all hit me hard so I came back on Monday to purchase one of the crushed pop-can cubes to re-purpose it as an art piece. Luckily it was cheap as all the metal is sold by the pound.

We also had a quick peek at a tire yard, which ended when we spotted a guard dog, but we got out just fine.

The evidence is below. Hope you enjoy!


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Check out the rest of the photos on my Flickr page.

Upclose and Glitchy

posted in: Glitch | 0

Here is a ‘detail’ sample from my experiments with data-bending and corrupting image files of the CR2 format (Canon Raw v.2).

In these I’m exploring the aesthetic of digital breakdown of photo-realistic imagery where fragmentation, unnatural bright colors, and pixel artifacts are the main visual focus and goal. The result of purposely corrupting a file is never predictable – everyone who engages in this technique knows that this process is finicky, time-consuming, unconventional and exciting! Sometimes the files break completely, and sometimes they produce interesting, and awe inducing results.

I will continue posting on this topic so stay tuned!

Hope you enjoy these examples.

















A Walk in Cochrane

posted in: Adventure, Photography | 0

I haven’t done nature photography in a while. A few days ago i had a chance to walk around Cochrane, AB with Bram and take a few shots, mainly practicing composition skills, and playing with colors and depth of field. All i used was my Canon Rebel XSi.

Later on I modified some of the shots more than others in Photoshop to see what cool effects i could come up with.

Results are below. It’s all for fun and practice. Enjoy.


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