Nick Briz Explains the Glitch-Art Methods of JODI

In an effort to branch out further into the world of tech-based and internet art, Chicago Art Magazine attempted to send interview questions to the Belgium-based artist collective JODI, who have been making art for the internet for almost 10 years. When we attempted to contact the duo, we did receive a reply, but the answers completely befuddled us.

Screen capture of work by JODI

Here are a few samples of the answers we had received via email:

Chicago Art Magazine: What do you hope that people who visit your website, wwwwwwwww.jodi.com, take away from your artwork?

Ow w Ow w OOOw w COM wwwwwwwww.jodi.orgNot FoundThe requested URL /people-who-visit-our-website” was not found on this server.Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

CAMag: How do the two of you work as a team when creating your artwork?

ee BABB– makecofffe SHUTtIppUPp – GGoo – get Kidsa grpm SG+HOL HAmAMmmamam

Eee &&^^&#&(#))^  ! !  !&!____________@^_!(** ***** *_ !__ !_ !_ ! * !_& &

(*! !) !*) * !)&!& #&&#&^( 0)(()  (()  (( )#())#() (#(( )!@%@$*#== ++#+#*! !  !!

paernw yY.EUEU EUE. dirtUE  R R R   Dort  DIGIOT.    D DD  S S B


In an effort to interpret these responses, Chicago Art Magazine turned to Nick Briz, a Chicago-based tech artist, to help us understand. (Read more about Briz on CAMag: HTML5: Transforming Digital Art, and An Unknown Error has Occurred: New Media and Glitch Art.)

We asked Briz to help us comprehend what we were looking at, and also asked him the question that a lot of laymen might ask, “Is this just gobbledygook?”

He replied: “While I agree this is most definitely gobbledygook, I’d have to say it’s absolutely beautiful gobbledygook 🙂

“Of course I’m extremely partial to this aesthetic; JODI have been my heroes for a very long time and have tremendously influenced my aesthetic/digital sensibilities (as well as my conceptual perspective on new media art… and art in general). Because I’m so familiar with their work I can tell you this was not made by resting their elbows on the keyboard (although they are not opposed to that method of art production, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98nK-Fybks0), this email looks a bit more algorithmic (in the same way that some of John Cage’s chance operations where ‘algorithmic’)… not that it means anything.

Facebook screenshot of what Briz refers to as "The Cult of JODI"

“As I’m sure you probably already know, JODI’s #1 rule is “do it the wrong way,” and this goes beyond art making, it’s more their philosophy of life. When they spoke (via skype) at the GLI.TC/H conference I co-organized last year they did the whole lecture upside down (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGQEwYJZzqo).

“There are few conceptual artists whose work illicit the same response years after it’s production, JODI want people to see their work (and read their emails) and be caught off guard, be confused, upset, scared, ecstatic, and never comfortable about technology.

“It’s probably easiest to view JODI’s work through a Cagean or dada-lens, and while that’s a valid (and often appropriate) perspective to take, personally I’ve become more interested in the way work like JODI’s questions and/or calls attention to our relationship with digital technologies. A point of tension we can’t ever seem to get over within the “arts” (and society at large) is whether technology is inherently good or evil, whether it will augment reality or destroy humanity. The truth is technology isn’t inherently anything. Heidegger says that technology, rather than a means, is a symptom of our specific view (or what he calls “enframing”) of the world. So for example, with wind turbines vs. hydraulic fracking, one enframes a kind of symbiotic relationship with the world while the other enframes the earth as a well of resources.

Screen capture of work by JODI

“Heidegger says the problem is that we refuse to be mindful/aware of this and just assume technology can always make everything easier, better, more efficient. JODI’s work won’t let us make these assumptions. Where technology attempts to be transparent and nonintrusive, JODI makes it obvious, abrupt, unsettling, confusing. When you experience a work by JODI (especially for the first time) you’re forced into a Heideggerian mindfulness, forcefully aware of the role technology is playing in your relationship to the world (or at the very least aware that it is playing a role).”


Thank you Nick, for your incredibly knowledgeable explanations! We’d be lost with out you.