Glitches disrupt the normal functions of machinery such as a computer – inherent within the system, yet uncontrollable like mutations disrupting the development of a species or the order of a biotope. As if the bird really had grown a third eye, the image hints at a world where time and space compress into a liberating warp – inviting the viewer to imagine new forms of life.
The error causing the image to look so supposedly unnatural does to the digital processes of the camera what anomalies do to the processes of natural environments. These two systemic structures share a history beyond metaphor – the first technical bug was an insect stuck inside a machine. Close enough to integrate into a material – the physical body of an animal, or of a camera – the glitch comes close enough to act precariously within and upon that material. For this reason, friction is a better word than error to describe what happens: depending on the context, the accident is a happy one. Serinyà’s random act of mistreating an everyday device follows an unexpected leap of nature that eventually ensures the survival skills of species.
In these images, the moment of friction – the break – can be found in the details. The subtle yet drastic interference of a vertical line disfiguring a creature by dividing the visual field; the pixelation dotting a usually smooth floor of artificial woodlands; the misplacing of shade and brightness in painted fabrics and sharp sidelights that give contradictory references to weather and hour of the day. These disruptions mirror the unattainable yet forever attractive vision of the museum display: to represent a sustained victorious fate through inevitable failure, to perform a seamless life-world through disparate theatrics and ultimate death.
Once you see a glitch, you see it in places far away from its technical origins. Paying attention to all kinds of cracks uncovers the lived experience and narrative of the thing being cracked. At the Biological Museum, the ecological spirit of the Scandinavian comes into focus – with a twist of today’s Anthropocene anxieties. At the same time, Serinyà’s mutations of the photographic process – somewhat handicapped images, as he puts it – raise questions about the state of photography as a medium while drawing the viewer into their hypnotic dreamscapes.
Another bird appears in a photograph whose glitches yield ragged edges and speed lines that mimic the implied motion of spread wings ready to take flight. Bringing a dynamic to what is clearly stuck – stuffed, glued, sewn, stacked – in the diorama, the sudden threat of a bird of prey is transposed to the sudden noise of a glitch disrupting the silent order of the system: the environment created in nature, in the photograph, or in the museum. The glass eyes keep watching us – a gleam of pulse in a dead creature, still with its intrinsic code to kick-start into life again. It is an inherent threat to the system that the system cannot afford to vanquish.