Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Why AI is not the future of art ( an artists view).


 Impossible Jewellery ( ganbreeder and glic)

Like all tools, AI becomes fetishised by those pushing it as a great disruptor . If we can only collect enough data points or images, essentially cannibalise the totality of all art made up until now and feed those back into our model we can create 'new' artworks that do away with those pesky artists and create something akin to a factory  which can churn out New novels, films, filmstars like the machines used by the ministry of truth in 1984 to feed the masses glib and sugary media that satisfies a craving but never gives insight . Because the approach that a lot of data scientists use is to try and make something like deep fakes - art which convinces you it might have been made by human hands , imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery especially in the case of things like style transfer where essentially we are playing the game of one tune to the sound of another relying on the novelty of seeing a familiar or unfamiliar picture translated into something like something we already know , its a novelty

If AI art seeks to imitate that which has gone before it will fail, if it relies on aping human aesthetics it will fail. What to me is most interesting about AI and machine learning, training is mistraining or mislearning or failure - the parade of freakish faces or buildings which lead us into a new aesthetic unbounded by old paradigms of beauty or balance. I am not interested in faces which do not exist , whatever does not exist or any other fakery which will subsequently be used as an agent of control or obfuscation or  state sponsored hacking or soocial engineering.

Some of the most unique and interesting work being done with AI is by the artists themselves, training and subverting the technology.

Artists such as vadim epstein ( find words and pictures here

Or applications such as gan breeder or art breeder

My argument as an artist is very simple; as in economics those who see advantage in using a technology to corner a market will seek to do so. This is not necessarily a good thing, especially if those doing the cornering are those who set the agenda already leading to a moribund aesthetic  and the exclusion and impoverishment of large swathes of society - their agenda is not ours lets not get caught up in it.



Lately I've been playing with low end machines and faulty graphics cards. These stills are made by feeding a video through legacy os 2017 with an old pci graphics card, an Avance Logic with an ALG2302.A  chip. First I play the video and capture that using my trusty vga to composite adaptor and pinnacle tv capture card, then I slice that up into stills after capture. What I like most about these is the texture and the colour red.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Fubar 2019 > Searching for error in obscure or obsolete operating systems (part four) ogv and cavs misinterpretation , ubuntu 6.06 , gans , computational cost and conclusions.

One of my strategy's when testing distro’s is to have an external drive which contains different file formats ie ogv , avi , mkv , mp4 containing a mix of h264 , snow , h261 cavs etc so when I fire up a new distro I can just mount the hard-drive and test each file against a player and I will have the vga to composite adaptor connected to a secondary computer via an old tv capture card so I can record what I find – using that method I use cheese webcam booth then which records in webm ( I love webm because of the way it corrupts when hex edited) or more often I will use gtk-recordmydestop which I use to capture from tvtime as I find the capture is marginally better , but even so still lofi .

So I was trying out an old version of Mandriva (2009) running through the files that I had on the external hard-drive, there’s the standard gnome media player but it doesn’t come with all the codecs installed and the distro repositorys are long since abandoned (As Mandriva no longer exists as an entity unlike Ubuntu or Debian you can't alter the sources.list and point the package manager at older repositorys for codecs)  and then I thought of importing an ogv file into kino , why I dont know – ogv as basically the most open source file format you can have for video and will play on older computers with little or no problem , or should do so I hit import and this is what happened .

Importing ogv into Kino on Mandriva 2009

Not only does kino corrupt the playback of the file when it imports it, it also saves the file as a dv file in whatever directory the source is in , so it corrupts and bakes , what you see is what you get . And unlike the previous faults I’d found in legacy os this isn't dependent on the graphics card and os interacting.

So then I was running through some of my old distros to see if I could replicate that , and sure enough I came across a thread on using older versions of Ubuntu , Ubuntu ( along with Debian ) keeps up repositorys for older versions and you can still access these repositorys and build a working system just by altering the etc/apt/ sources.list to point at the old repos Find older versions of Ubuntu here old versions of Ubuntu

 Adapted /etc/apt/sources.list Ubuntu 10.04

So having worked through ubuntu 9.11 I eventually settled on 10.04 ( as gtk- recordmydesktop wasnt available as far as I know in earlier versions of Ubuntu) as I knew it quite well from using it in the past and It had a good variety of video players to experiment with searching through synaptic I found most of them and installed them. So playing ogv in Gnome-mplayer gives the same results as importing into Kino ( but without the saving to file - you'll need to use a screencapture program or device to record this).

Ogv playback in Gnome-mplayer Ubuntu 10.04 

Gtk-recordmydesktop captures in ogv format – ogv and oggvideo / theora and webm for that matter are based on onvideos vp3 ( there are similarities between hex edited vp3 and webm ) ( More on vp3 here VP3 on wikipedia)it isn't a very well organized format so when you come to replay it it stutters and is hard to seek in, often stalling, but it is backwards compatible ie you can use it on older versions of linux with some hope it will play .

Curiously if you change the file extension from ogv to ogg the file will play back ordinarily. The following video was screen captured from Zoe Stawska's outernet explorer youtube channel find that here and subscribe 

 Ogv to Ogg name change and playback in Ubuntu 10.04

This is one of the more interesting flaws I've found specifically in Ubuntu 10.04, its as simple as encoding a file in to cavscodec ( a chinese audio video codec designed to replace patent encumbered h264 and h265. More on cavs here libxavs on sourceforge ) and replaying it in vlc or Gnome-mplayer . I screen capture this again using gtk-recordmydesktop. So first here is the file as it would be played back ordinarily in Vlc in more modern linux distros like linuxmint 18.3 or Devuan ( source is a capture from tv of one of the more recent Transformers films )

Cavs encoded File playing as it should play back in newer Linux distros. 

And this is the cavs encoded file as it plays back in Vlc and Gnome mplayer ( this is without hex editing or any technique applied ).

Cavs misread in ubuntu 10.04  Vlc and Gnome-mplayer

Recent researchs into Ubuntu 6.06 on low end machines

The last few months I’ve been looking at Ubuntu 6.06 , from previous versions of ubuntu I’ve come to expect the ogv misread fault but it presents itself in different ways depending on the speed of the computer and the graphics card used /

ogv misread in ubuntu 6.06 - this is from a lower specced computer ( p3 600mhz) with an ati expert 98 agp card with 8mb of ram onboard so the computer is struggling to actually read the file - im looking to exploit this further but havent had time to research it fully ( though I have managed to replicate this on a slightly more powerful pentium d processor running an ati 9600 agp card ).

 Agp Ati xpert 98 ogv misread

On a slightly higher specced computer ( a p3 1ghz) with onboard intel graphics (i810) and a 3dfx voodoo 2 ( because this msi 6178 ver1.1 board doesn't have agp) we get different textures and reads - some files wont play at all because the processor cant handle them , especially if the file is too big . This is the original file captured using gtk-recordmydesktop and saved as ogv .

Ogv File as captured on Linux mint 19.1 using gtk-recordmydesktop.

Below is the same file as played on Ubuntu 6.06 given the specs as above and with onboard graphics ( intel i810) running through a 3dfx voodoo 2 pci with 8mb onboard ram . 

Ogv misread Ubuntu 6.06 on 3dfx voodoo 2 pci graphics card

This is how the file manager on the same computer as used above sees my sources folder on the usb hardrive I store my test videos .

Sources folder on external hardrive as Ubuntu 6.06 sees it.

And this is how Linuxmint 19.1 sees exactly the same folder:

Sources folder on external hardrive as Linuxmint 19.1 sees it.

But the most surprising fault I've found is in the playback of h264 encoded files in vlc on Ubuntu 6.06 which gives an almost pixel sorting effect this gives the same result independent of video card or processor. First I'll play the original file:

Nosferatu original playback 

Now If we play the same file in Vlc on Ubuntu 6.06 we get this:

Nosferatu H264 playback error in Ubuntu 6.06

 I have actually captured a complete version of this on youtube and if you are interested this is where to find it

And this is about where I am now, focusing on Ubuntu 6.06 and various hardware configurations investigating the Ogv and h264 error which seems to have significant differences between the easy Gnome-mplayer playback and kino import in Ubuntu 10.04, as seen earlier especially if I vary the graphics card used .

Throughout the last year and in planning for this talk I've worked my way through quite a few linux distros , some like legacy os and its derivatives ( of which their are many ) and the various Ubuntus and derivatives have been quite fruitful, others like Dragora 2.2 or Zenwalk and other Slackware derivatives less so . Though there are many others yet to try .

This is a list of some but not all of those I have investigated . ( the useful ones are underlined though recently Ive been looking at pure:dyne and dyne:bolic especially and these should be considered especially as like legacy os 2017 and legacy os 4 mini they are complete in themselves and are usuable even with package repositorys or updates) 

Why not virtualize ?

One of the questions you might ask is ‘why don’t I virtualize this?’ , fire up virtual-box and load up legacy OS or legacy mini 4 well , here’s the thing it might not work
Some faults might be reproducible in virtual box ie ogv misread and cavs misinterpretation
It might be possible to run legacy OS 2 if you specify Xvesa as the graphics driver rather than Xorg and achieve the same results
But with Ogv misread you get slightly different results depending on graphics card and processor – could this be modelled in virtual-box ?
It seems easier to me to pull apart and rebuild a physical computer and run through different operating systems and graphics card combination once rebuilt – sometimes you get different results on say a sis chipset or an intel chipset – the more variables there are the more possibility of error .
Computational Archaeology – preserving machines and software . A lot of what I discover and use in my work is through what I see as Computational archeology, that which is left behind due to perceived obsolescence may have some flaw or 'feature' that was not seen due to ‘correct’ use, using older softer on newer hardware , or older hardware with newer software may also open up faults not seen at the time. Which brings me back to the original question I started this talk with - ' what is the minimum spec computer you needed to make glitch art ' and the newer question of Gans and computational cost .

Gans, exposure and computational cost 
( With digressions into the politics of hardware and the entry costs of making glitch art, of the basic costs of exposure including discussion of more recent technologies , such as neural nets , the high price of cuda capable video cards ( is this the direction glitch art should be taking ?) the need for higher and higher definition and quality video – facebook playback issues , the time it takes to upload hd content on rural broadband vs access to fibre , computational expense vs free access.
What I like most about glitch art is its wild west feel, there is no right and wrong way of doing it , no formalised academic path which teaches the primacy of one set of aesthetics over the other, because the question of scarcity value that traditional art relies upon to make profit and approve what is and what isn’t seen is irrelevant when we have access to the universal gallery of the screen and the internet as play space – we can create as much or as little exposure as we want without needing others to step in and offer us a venue or endorsement. The tools and knowledge to make it are universally free and the hardware required ( as I’ve shown in this demonstration) can be as cheap as you want or as expensive as you want - I myself come from a deliberately lofi position and I believe in sharing the work I make and the way that I make it with the proviso of attribution ( and that I state my original sources ) .

I live in Rural Ireland where broadband is patchy and slow ( to upload a high definition file can take anything from an hour to a day depending on size ) so there is always a time cost to what I do ( especially as rural broadband can't cope with me uploading a large file and using the Internet as well ) , but that is offset by being a part of something bigger and more important than just me ( it isn't offset by people offering free exposure - because exposure is never free ) 

Most of what I do is based on using old or recycled machines , given the recent rise in the use of Gans I decided to finally source a second hand i5 , it didn’t cost more than 50 euros but it does run something basic like liz everetts gan tools . 

Liz Everetts' Gantools repository
But if I want to train my own Gan I’ll have to invest a lot more into my set up, a more expensive graphics cards and higher electricity bills , if I use the online tools or pre-trained models I am just working within somebody else's constraints, if I train my own there is an attendant computational cost : demands for work on the basis of exposure increases the demand on my resources and warps the direction my work might go in if I worked for exposure .

Cheap access to Ai ? Though eating is also helpful.

The more you pay the more you get ? yea cos I can really afford this!

As work made using Gans becomes more ascendant, to play means to pay , is this true to what glitch art intends to be. Is this the new cost of exposure , given that glitch art thrives on novelty, that which is current becomes that which is sought after and paid for in line with the pay to play model that I despise in the old art world, and then of course before payment comes exposure.

But chasing exposure this way, if the world we work in thrives on novelty and a perceived value of the new, would seem to be pointless, yes I can run a Gan but if it is because that is the latest trend or demand ( as chasing exposure feeds the demands for certain types of work ) then does that not betray what we do as glitch artists as more complex computational demands reduces the options for making narrows.

The ai art boom
Its worthwhile hunting down this article because of the implications

To quote from the article -‘There was otherwise little debate about the artistic merit of AI art at the summit, which attracted players from across the tech, art, and collecting worlds. The bigger questions instead focused on just how much this new form was poised to disrupt the industry.’

This is my personal view now , so take this as you will but Gans can be seen as a way for the traditional art market which has been struggling with how to stay relevant to and make money from our playground ( see the awful sub genre called post-internet art ) by cornering the market on one or two individuals and exclusive or tweaked algoritms to define what is seen or defined as art and therefore exclude that which threatens their business model ie us , in the same way that napster almost destroyed the music industry before the music industry via apple happened along itunes and spotify, Gan art or AI generated art can be seen as the art worlds Itunes moment – now I’m not coming out against gans or the work that people are putting into them but consider this , the more a gan can be trained the more it can create something akin to art , the more the traditional art world can reclaim its place as the centre of exclusivity aesthetics and value, is this what we want to return ourselves to the world of the academic and the culturally sanctioned , where art is not produced and producable by all but once again consumed by the passive – what price is exposure if we hand our aesthetics to the 1%

Lets think about this for a minute



Monday, 14 October 2019

Fubar 2019 > Searching for error in obscure or obsolete operating systems (part three) Xorg poisoning.

So, what exactly do I mean by Xorg Poisoning ? Well this is one of the strangest effects that I've found so far. Using legacy os 4 mini and playing a certain type of h264 encoded mp4 file you can make the whole Xorg graphical server completely freak out then when subsequent videos are played  this is transferred to the video. It's not capturable within the operating system using something like xvidcap or gtk-recordmydesktop and has to be captured using either a capture card or camera .

Clip of enders game playing as normal in smplayer

If we play a certain sort of file in another media player ( kmplayer ) this is what happens ( again, like all files in this section, this was captured using a vga to composite adaptor running into a honestech gadmei usb Tv capture card on a second computer running linuxmint 18.3 and either cheese webcam booth or tvtime and gtk-recordmydesktop) 

 This happens when playing a h264 encoded file in kmplayer leaving the desktop and xorg in this state.

Using linuxmint 18.3 you can read the capture card as an input through cheese webcam booth as in this picture.

Capturing video using cheese webcam booth on linuxmint 18.3
Playing the original video I showed earlier after Xorg poisoning looks like this;

Enders game clip - first pass under xorg poisoning

I can take that video re-encode it to H264 in flowblade ( as Cheese webcam booth encodes to webm Legacy os 4 mini won't play webm) bring it back to the source computer and play that over again, adding to the corruption continuously. The second run would look like this:

Enders game clip - second pass under xorg poisoning 

But of course you can see what the problem is here , the equipment I have loses a lot of the detail from capture to capture – some files work well , others do not eventually turning into mush or just coloured static , unlike in legacy os and ubuntu 10.04 (which I will show later on) this can't be recorded within the os and the capture cards I have lose detail , you can record using a webcam and a program called cheese , sometimes for detail I’ll use a standard webcam other times one of my circuit bent webcams for example:

Capture from legacy os 4 mini using circuit bent playstation 2 eyetoy. 

Until I can find a decent capture card or upscaler I can't really show all of the detail that I'm seeing on the screen during playback - the closest I've come is using a newer playstation 3 webcam which has a fairly sharp focus and runs at 60fps per second as opposed  to the above which is only running at max 15fps - but I'm still pleased with some of the results I'm getting .

A fuller finished version of this technique can be found here - the basic video was captured using the techniques outlined above ( though using a playstation 3 camera running at 60fps set up in front of the source computer for capture into cheese webcam booth and light hex editing of the resulting webm file plus sound )

The next and final post will cover more recent faults I've found based around the theora codec ogv and also cavs misinterpretation on ubuntu 10.04 -

Fubar 2019 > Searching for error in obscure or obsolete operating systems (part two) Legacy OS 2017

Legacy OS 2 Demonstration

These are the specs of the computer used to make the videos in this part of the presentation - the important point to note is the agp Ati HD 3650, when i first discovered this particular series of errors I suspected it was the card and the way that xorg configuration misread the card type and set it up as a different type and that this error was only available using this card and a pci-e radeon x300 se ( Dell oem card found in some of their computers circa 2005-6) but I've recently found that this error is reproducible even without these cards if you select xvesa as the graphics driver and not xorg - otherwise if the xorg configuration routine detects the card correctly these errors do not occur .

Computer specs these videos were made on

So , this is legacy os starting up  to the point where you have to choose xorg or xvesa ( xorg is the basic display manager in linux which deals with the GUI , keyboard, mouse, size of screen etc - xvesa is a fallback mode which enables  you to run a graphical display as opposed to command line if xorg fails to detect what your graphic card is )

Legacy OS 2017 start up sequence

If you choose xorg and 24 bit you will get normal colour 16bit will sometimes give more interesting effects . Legacy OS comes with various video players such as VLC and smplayer so at first I played back a file that I'd downloaded from ( The cabinet of Dr Caligari - I'd been intending to work on a datamoshed version of it as I love it as a film and wanted to see what I could do with it ) - so first off I opened it in VlC 

Dr Caligari played in VLC in Legacy OS 2 

There is some artifacting ie the vertical lines but nothing out of the ordinary, I'd noticed flicking through the start menu that there was also a player I hadn't come across before, so thought okay lets try that, and suddenly something completely different started to happen.

Dr caligari playback via quickplay on legcay OS 2.

This is what happens when you play the same file encoded to the snow codec – each different file format gives different artifacts and result – this without hex editing , sonification or messing with the file in any way.  You can find the full final version of this here, it's a mix of techniques with this technique as its base

 Dr Caligari encoded to snow, playback in quickplay (24 bit xorg)

If we play a file encoded to ZLIB things get even more interesting. So far this flaw seems  to work best with black and white films.

Pandoras box starring Louise brooks encoded to Zlib playback in quickplay

If we exit back to the command line ( ctrl alt backspace) and reconfigure xorg to work with 16 bit colour we can achieve different and sometimes more interesting renders of the files .

Dr Caligari played in quickplay as before but 16bit xorg 

Or in this next video ( The Hitch hiker - a great and dark film again sourced from ) there are beautiful areas of banding and lines , interestingly if you maximise the screen the video plays normally , return it to original size when opened and the glitching reappears - a lot of the detail that I see on the screen in real life is being lost in the capture process though as I'm using a cheap vga to composite adaptor which doesnt do justice to whats happening on the screen.

The Hitch Hiker - playback in quickplay 16bit xorg

Now , using xvidcap you can record this from within the operating system – some errors you can , some you can't .This will work with pretty much any file that it can read , but with varying degrees of usefulness for example below Linnea Quigleys 'Horror workout'  – some files just break down into a horrible mush of distortion which is unattractive ( I like to retain some readability in the files and work I create).

Linnea Quigley ' Horror work out' quickplay playback, 16 bit xorg.

Now at first I discovered that this fault could only be replicated using an Ati Hd 3650 agp card or a pci-e radeon x300se ( an oem card that dell put in some of their computers circa 2005-6) but I’ve recently discovered that if you select xvesa as the driver during xorgwizard setup rather than xorg you can achieve the same effect on any agp , pci-e or onboard graphics card which does extend the range of equipment that I can use considerably .

so what exactly is happening here ? What I think is happening is that the Ati card is being recognised by the xorg server but as some other model and that when it writes the configuration after set up the xserver treats the card as this older model, this could be an area of research for the future , what I suspect might also be happening is that the kernel is too old ( to have the correct kernel module for this particular card or it misassigns the model – as the architecture of older Ati cards is roughly similar it works but not correctly , which may explain the lines on playback in vlc – but this doesnt explain everything . I’m open to suggestions as I don’t have the technical knowledge to work this out . 
In the next post I will be dealing with a sister distribution to legacy os 2017 , legacy os mini and what I like to call xorg poisoning. 

Part three 


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Fubar 2019 > Searching for error in obscure or obsolete operating systems (part one)

Searching for error in obscure or obsolete Linux distributions – referencing component mismatch, video misinterpretation and using older hardware to make Glitch Art ( through necessity or perversity)’
( With demonstrations).

## I will try to be as accurate with the information given as it may be subject to scrutiny and attempts at replication so I will try to state version numbers, programs and setup specifications as accurately as possible.

With reference to Legacy OS 2 (misreading of mp4 video files)  and other misinterpretations in a live or persistent installation which can be captured within and by the OS using quick-player and xvidcap ( different results given by setting 24 bit or 16bit colour both reproducible and capturable) with demonstrations. And with reference to preferred video cards and why they might work better than others – the xvesa solution.
In this presentation I’m going to be talking about exploiting the way that hardware software, and operating systems interact . I'll try to be as accurate as possible in what I say because some of you might want to reproduce what I've found , bear in mind that I’ve been working this way for a couple of years and a lot of what I’ve discovered is through trial and error - when I say this works , it works with the equipment I have, especially when it comes to agp cards, later motherboards may not reproduce these effects. I use everything from a p3 600mhz right up to a Pentium d dual core and through various Amd's up to socket am2+ the constants that remain are an Ide cdrom drive  ( some older live distros wont boot on newer sata drives) an older agp or pci graphics using xorg or any onboard graphics card using xvesa which I’ll explain later.

But First a word about exposure 

 Exposure and opportunity costs 

The Theme for this years Fubar is ‘exposure’ and some of what I’m going to be talking about relates to that – there are different costs associated with exposure, some if not all borne by us as artists , for example materials , printing , basic living costs , ( opportunity costs , to pay for one thing I have to forgo something else , with exposure thats generally money and time ) , or in the more traditional Art model the pay to play cost ie. paying to be in or to mount an exhibition , or being asked to pay to be in a magazine article , things like gallery 1340art or Peripheral ARTeries.



The traditional art world relies on the scarcity value of the physical ( or non physical ) product of the Artist to make profit for themselves and little profit for the artist. I see exposure as an echo of that scarcity value in that we publish our works online where it is impossible for anything to have scarcity value therefore we are often asked if we will work for exposure (in other words for free) in return for a nebulous and contradictory association with a product they are often trying to sell . This is exploitative in the extreme , in a medium by its very nature which is non-exclusive and gives us as much exposure as we want or can push for free ( beyond the costs of access and materials) 'exposure' has no value unless we get paid .

At every turn there are those who try and make us give our time and our work for free to profit from it in return for ‘Exposure’ ;

Thats a 'no' from me.

To counter this I publish all my work under a creative commons license and try and share my methods and ideas when asked to devalue even further any profit which can be derived from exclusivity, I am my own exposure. Though In this talk I’m going to be dealing more with hardware and software, to even get to the point of where people are ‘offering’ you exposure you must first make some work , to make work you need materials , or hardware .

Like most of us here I don’t have much money, I’ve always had to rely on building , buying and repairing my computer gear secondhand, sometimes from car boot sales , or charity shops or even rummaging through the bins at the local dump , friends give me there old hardware or hardware they’ve found and I do favors for them in return. So, I’ve built up a stock of obsolete and obscure computers and parts which live in my attic waiting for me to find some use for them . 

Some of the computers lurking in our attic.
I’ve used, abused and advocated Linux since the early 2000’s. Having bought a copy of windows 98 for one of my very first computers I then found a copy of Red Hat 7.3 in a local library that I could not only take home and install for free I could copy and give it to my friends, this open source philosophy has come to inform and influence my work ever since . Using Linux for art purposes just makes more sense to me especially as you can run a lot of the distros as live systems that run from usb or CD – so part of what I do is enabled by the fact that I've built up and used a collection of Linux distros, again partly because I'm trying to squeeze the most out of limited hardware .

I don’t believe the entry level into making glitch art, or any kind of art, should be too high, which is why I’ve always advocated open source software and have a dislike of proprietary programs which cost exorbitant sums of money, can’t be tinkered with or shared ( unless you use cracks), and try to share whatever I’ve learned with others and release any of my work under a creative commons license ( cc with attribution).

Every so often in GAC you will see a thread where someone has made a great post and then someone comes along and asks either what hardware or software and some other bright spark comes along and replies that its probably a high end mac or some other expensive software hardware ie mac or photo shop or After Effects plug ins you have to pay for ( though recently this has mutated into the what app question which is a whole different kettle of fish) I'm talking about 2016-2017 era when all of this starts for me )

so in late 2016 early 2017 someone new to GAC asked Dawnia Carney aka Letsglitchit what was the minimum spec computer you needed to make glitch art.

What is the minimum spec computer you need to make glitch art?

The answer was basically whatever you have to hand and that sometimes charity shop finds of old PC's might have novel or interesting software which could do unique things –

One of the first things I noticed about GAC was that people openly shared their methods and ideas , in much the same way that the open source movement does. As the rules of the group state:

'Not every piece needs a description, but we would rather you elaborate on your techniques if requested. The sharing of information and dissemination of knowledge is how movements grow'.
The Founder of Gac, Mathieu St Pierre, had stated he used an old version of Sony Vegas to make his work and that was enough to make me spend a lot of time rounding up old versions of software to try out different things, especially early xp video editing programs and trans-coding software – though here I must mention Avery Chesters work and his compression club website which is an astonishing collection of codes and programs from the dawn of prehistory to now , Avery is quite a modest guy but I've had a lot of conversations with him and shared ideas and sources and I think we need to acknowledge his importance to what we do . Find compression club here compression club

Avery Chester - compression club

Compression club is interesting in that it enables you to work with possibly the most obsolete operating systems that are still usable for our purposes ie win 98 SE and XP – I have machines running both ( on equipment pretty similar to what im going to be demonstrating today) but I don’t want to digress there cos that’s a whole different presentation – I'm just mentioning it because it has some bearing when you consider that I'm looking for malfunctions in software and hardware to exploit for the purposes of making video for instance this program was created by a Dutch scientist PETER B.L. MEIJER to help blind people navigate using sound and a webcam as kind of radar.

vOICe website

(Below vOICe in action)

An early version of Vlc on Windows xp will play back zmbv encoded on that machine in a different way to zmbv encoded on say a more modern version of Linux .
Zmbv encoded using zmbv codec provided by Dfendreloaded  on win xp using Honestech encoder.

 Zmbv encoded using ffmpeg 4.1.3 on linux mint 19.1, playback on same computer same version of vlc ( 2.2.6) as above.

To satisfy my own curiosity I ran through my computer graveyard and started off with a p3 Celeron running at 333mhz , using an old distro I had looked at called legacy OS ( I'm always looking through DistroWatch trying to find new or interesting distros ) Find legacy OS 2017 here

Legacy OS 2017 website.
So using legacy OS ( which is really a version of puppy Linux using the old 2.16 kernel ) , on a p3 celeron with 512mb ram and a 32mb Riva TNT , you can do some work, the word pad effect is just about doable, The gimp will read and import bmp as raw, but slowly ( for when the wordpad effect mangles the file to far you can import the file as raw if you know what the original dimensions of the image are ) , video playback is bearable but not usable above mpeg or xvid or for anything like transcoding or sonification using audacity. ( legacy os has ffmpeg , sox , commandline stuff, gimp mhwaveedit and other transcoding scripts, but busybox not full gnuutils which means some of the command line stuff i'd do using xxd or sed is not going to work) . If I swap out the card for a 64mb geforce 2 , I can get better graphics , but still not much more usable.

But if you switch up to a 700mhz coppermine things become better , same os as before same ram , but way faster ( these are all desktops by the way , early laptops can be hard to configure especially sound and graphics ) - I made most of my early posts to Gac in 2013 using a Gateway 5300 solo with A 900mhz P3 and 512mb of ram and Debian 6 , it does work but graphics and sound suffer from lack of oomph - and you cant tweak the hardware to get the maximum. so there you have it , if you choose the right os - lower number linux kernel , and have the parts , you too can glitch likes its the early 2000’s.

Final specs for making glitch art on low end machines

Having found the lower level of what was usable and due to various hardware failures my main modern(ish) desktop had died, (old machines can be very temperamental), I found myself with only one working desktop which was an old socket a amd sempron 2800 given to me by a guy I work for on and off but it had an ati agp hd3650 graphics card . I tried out legacy os in view of what I’d been saying on Gac to try and use it as my main computer

Final Configuration.

I don’t remember exactly how I discovered the first error, probably just looking through some videos on an external hard drive but it ended up like this 

Still capture on Legacy Os 2017

And video playback was like this :

And looking through the programs that come with legacy os I found the screencapture program ' Xvidcap' which meant I could also record what I was seeing on the screen.

Capturing video using xvidcap Legacy OS 2017
In next blog post working with legacy os 2017 videos and demonstrations.

Part two