Fuck Yes, Datamosh-y Webcam

April 15, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Here’s a browser-based webcam from artist Andrew Benson of Wolf and Unicorn (gif art series about love and death) and INTOTHEZONE (a digital and psychedelic Tarkovsky adaptation). Prosthetic Knowledge explains: It’s “a WebGL realtime visual distorter with a smooth yet digital grainy effect.”

Try Flow Cam right here right now.

“Technically speaking, it isn’t datamoshing,” Prosthetic Knowledge’s Rich Oglesby schools us. “Datamoshing is a technique exploiting video compression codecs. The flows in Andrew Bensons work are programmed, not reactive to the reset of the codec data. But it’s fair to say it is datamosh-esque.” Benson explains: “It uses per-pixel motion analysis (optical flow) with a little conditioning as a control signal for image distortion. Similar to how mpeg/divx works, but not based on that tech. It’s a kind of video feedback effect.”

As per Paul B. Davis’s 2009 show “Define Your Terms (or Kanye West Fucked Up My Show)” at the SEVENTEEN gallery, datamosh is a concept; datamosh is a feeling.

Contentiously dubbed ‘datamoshing’, (or ‘compression aesthetics’, as Davis prefers to describe it), this practice ultimately emerged out of artefacts inherent in the compression algorithms of digitally distributed media. Davis seized upon the glitchy pixellation that is often present while viewing YouTube clips or Digital TV, and repurposed it as a tool of cultural rupture.

But as Yung Jake demonstrated in 2011, aesthetics aren’t everything:

I’m not on Photobooth / That shit’s different ’cause they told me to step out of the frame / and I di-i-i-idn’t. / I’m doing shit these niggas don’t know digitally / that’s why I’m blowing and these hoes so into me.

Still fun though.