Renowned auction house Sotheby’s will relaunch its latest digital art sale on April 19 with significant changes, following community criticism regarding a lack of diversity.
Dubbed “Glitch: Beyond Binary,” the upcoming digital art sale is a reboot of the previous month’s “natively Digital: Glitch-ism” auction. The auction will highlight the diverse artist communities that build Glitch Art.
Sotheby’s also emphasized in a statement released on the same day that the auction would showcase individuals from all backgrounds.
“These communities do not just identify as male or female but consist of people from every gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, language, neuro-type, size, ability, class, religion, culture, subculture, political opinion, age, skill level, occupation and background,” read the statement.
— Sotheby's Metaverse (@Sothebysverse) April 12, 2023
Previously, Sotheby’s paused the initial sale on March 27 after Patrick Amadon, a prominent NFT artist with 142,500 followers on Twitter, withdrew his work from the event. The decision was made to protest a lack of female representation in the sale.
Amadon understood it could happen due to “a genuine oversight” on the team’s behalf. However, he found the lack of representation as a serious issue. In a tweet on March 26, he added how female-identifying artists have played a big role in the glitch art movement.
After Amadon’s withdrawal, Sotheby’s halted the auction and restarted the sale to feature more diverse Glitch NFT artists.
Dina Chang and Dawnia Darkstone have been chosen as curators for the event.
Chang is an American artist and curator known to use machine learning, video, misused software and science to break the mold of traditional photography. Her approach focused on exploring new possibilities through technology, free from the expectation of capturing the “reality” associated with conventional photography.
She is the creative producer of Setta Studio alongside Tim Saccenti. The pair combines photography, motion graphics, and computer graphics to produce content for their clients. At the same time, they create their own artwork outside the commercial realm.
Aside from Glitch: Beyond Binary, Chang is also the curator of FERALVERSE, a collaboration between The Verse Verse and Feral File.
Dawnia Darkstone — known as Letsglitchit — is an artist who has been dabbing in glitch art for ten years and AI art for seven years. She is also the leader of the Glitch Artists Collective and has garnered attention in the community for her early work on digital glitch techniques.
“In co-curating Glitch: Beyond Binary, I aspired to present an eclectic ensemble of exceptional artists, each with their distinct vision and approach to the realm of glitch art.”
Dawnia Darkstone, Glitch: Beyond Binary curator
Glitch: Beyond Binary marks Darkstone’s curatorial debut. She will have the opportunity to curate and choose eight works from various artists for the upcoming auction.
Understanding glitch art
As the name suggests, glitch art is a type of digital art that uses elements of digital or analog errors, also known as glitches. The errors come in many forms, such as distorted images, pixelation, or other glitches caused by technological malfunctions.
Artists create glitch art by manipulating or disrupting digital files on purpose, which results in unique and abstract artworks.
Glitch art has amassed popularity in the past few years, with many associating it with underground electronic music and other subcultures. This form of art is seen as a way to push creative boundaries by experimenting with the limits of technology.
Sotheby’s noted Glitch artists use their artworks as “political and identity expression.” While glitches and errors in the technological world are rarely anticipated and usually unwelcomed, these artists deliberately provoke them instead.