• "Missteps" is three-part installation involving several monitors showcasing glitched images from the 1896 SAIC course catalog. The work, which seeks to reinterpret the archive through the process of databending sonification, was installed in the Leroy Neiman Center at 37 S. Wabash Ave. as a part of the Telegraphic Fields (First Transmissions) exhibition celebrating the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s 150th year anniversary.
  • "Missteps" (GIF). 2015. Databending Glitch Images of the 1896 SAIC course catalog.
  • Thinking about text and even books in context of the archive immediately brought the idea of aging media. Page after page yellowed with some of the more crisp ones falling apart. In doing research for a different subject, I came across an old letterpress book where the words on one page somehow seeped into another, which further influenced the way I perceived these old documents. 
  • The three monitors each portray a separate page consisting of seven different glitches each as you walk in from the outside.
  • In many ways, the little mistakes in old documents didn’t feel all too different from the glitch form derived from databending sonification. Instead accidentally inputting a typo and having to go over with X’s on a typewriter, I intentionally subjected scans of the catalog through sound editing software and back. The process of using a tool the wrong way to produce an image while simultaneously immortalizing a decaying document into the digital realm as a form of reactivation seemed appropriate for me.
  • The monitors, which usually showcase campus life information, are on the opposite side of the elevators.
  • I chose three separate, but visually appealing pages: one was the title page, one had an image, and the final page displayed text in an interesting way. As there are many effects in Audacity available, I limited myself to seven each. When it came to install at the LeRoy Neiman Center, figuring out how to display all twenty-one images became an issue. Instinctually, keeping the altered images digital seemed like the right way to go, and so video was the compromise. Even still, working out how to portray the twenty-one images remained unknown to me.
  • Once inside the doors past the first inital monitors, there is a fourth monitor (on the right) with the same three pages played together in one continuous loop. On the left, there is another monitor featuring class photographs throughout the year. One of the images, currently showing in this photograph, is a previous iteration of this project.
  • The first iteration—which also managed to make its way into the exhibition—was to display them as a triptych on a single monitor with varying speed for the seven images. Even now, it’s a mouthful to explain. As I was essentially rendering a video from a GIF, I had to slow the rotation several times because you couldn’t see any of the detail. Part of the issue was that the monitor too far from viewer.
  • Even further inside the exhibition is a display case with archival material from the Ryerson Library. One of the books displayed is the 1896 course catalog, which is the source material from which "Missteps" derives.
  • The detail in each image was important to me, and through help from Mark and Nick, we managed to obtain access to the three monitors in front of the elevators. That way, they would be displayed bigger, and anyone could step right up to them, and with the physical catalog also present itself, the exhibition felt complete.
  • Select images of "Missteps" are also available for closer examination on my website at carlosapinon.com and also included below.
  • The following are select images from Missteps:
  • The following are the original scans of the catalog:
  • "Today is November 17, 2015.
    You are now a part of the Archive."
  • Days after our exhibition opening, we held our Telegraphic Fields (Live Transmissions) event. For this project, Dong Chan Kim and I collaborated in executing a performance which consisted of photographing the audience. Dong Chan would then edit the image to mimic an older era. After, I would manipulate the original image a second time via databending sonification. Once the two edits were made, all three were uploaded to Facebook under the hashtag #SAIC150, and the audience was informed that they had been archived.

    Reinterpreting text through glitch in context of the archive is as much of a mouthful, to say the least, but has actually been a fantastic intersection of many different thoughts. In working with Dong Chan Kim by inviting the audience into the archive, one of the things that stuck with me is making all of this material available. Making it possible for another to recreate this is along the lines of the Copy-It Right ideology that influenced me. When I first uploaded documentation photos, an online friend thanked me for making the exhibition available to those who can’t be there, and it struck me that would be virtually impossible for most people to engage with material unless it was explicitly made public, which is what we did.
    Here is the documentation video for the performance:
  • Here are the images of the audience taken by Dong Chan Kim:
  • Nearly 18 hours after the photographs were posted on social media, the post (and particularly this image) continued to garner likes, shares, and comments. Many of the notifications were actually from people who did not attend the show.
  • This was Dong Chan's interpretation of the image he took. The inital conversation for this project began with his interest in my databending technique to create the reinterpretations of the 1896 course catalog. After explaining the process to him, we decided to incorproate this into our live performance. Inviting the audience and sharing the images online was agreed upon the both of us as a vital aspect of our show.
  • Part of the influence for having the images available online was a conversation I had the day before with a friend on the Internet. Her being in an entirely different state made it impossible for her to attend the event, but seeing the documentation photos of the Telegraphic Fields (First Transmissions) gave her the opportunity to engage with the material. Partnered with the idea to juxtapose contemporary image making with references to more formal processes, we opted to question for whom the archive is made available, and what is being archived.
  • To continue with the idea of sharing the archive, it feels even more appropriate to also include our practice images as well. These are the images we produced before the show in chronological order:
  • The first iteration was taken on an iPhone camera. Dong Chan edited on Photoshop, and then I stacked an edit on his image. We scrapped this idea and decided to formalize our process, as well as keep our edits separate.
  • This was the first instance we used a more formal camera.
  • At this point, opting out of using Photoshop to create Dong Chan's image, we switched to his laptop in favor of the Camerabag because it was easier to install Audacity, which is free, for my image on his computer than to purchase Camerabag for installation on mine.
  • By now, we had a solid idea of what we were doing. Paola would later help frame the image with her iconic pose. At the time, I had no idea what Dong Chan would capture as my back was away from the crowd for the duration of the performance. It was only when the SD card was loaded onto the laptop would I understand what the laughter from the audience was.
  • It should be worth noting that in these iterations, other groups were also performing their projects simultaneous to ours as Nick and Mark worked out an order.
  • This was the final practice just before our live show in the Neiman Center.