Are you into Glitch art? Glitch—the repurposement of digital or analog errors (think image pixelation or VHS degradation) to create artworks—has been around for quite some time, but as our everyday lives become more and more fused with technology, Glitch’s resonance grows. Glitch art is arguably bigger now than ever before. The art aesthetic’s response to technology speaks to the appeal of corruption and found beauty in bad places. In the hands of Queens-native film scholar and new media artist ariella tai, Glitch interrogates adjustive labors marginalized communities perform to see themselves in a world where their existence is undervalued, even threatened.
If this all sounds good to you, or at the very least intriguing, you can catch up with a selection of short films by tai this Sunday at Portland’s hidden gem, the Boathouse Microcinema.
North Portland’s Boathouse Microcinema is a perfect venue for tai. The fireboat station turned art cinema provides an unintimidating space for underground artists to show their work and network with an interested audience that came to be challenged. This retrospective, untitled (how does it feel), screens tai’s current body of short films, many of which also showed at four of Portland’s high art landmarks this past year.
tai showed work at Open Signal this spring, at PSU’s Littman Gallery this summer, in PICA’s bathrooms at TBA (with collaborative performances from drag performers Bouton Volonté and Debris) and, last week, on the big screen at the NW Film Center. If you missed those or only caught a sampling, you’ve got one more shot to take in this rising star and their intellectually thrilling work.
untitled (how does it feel) addresses notions of Black femme existence and the emotional realities of Black queer existence, particularly—as the artist statement notes, “parts of black femme existence considered less desirable for consumption.” Sourcing mostly ‘90s and ‘00s Black film, music, and TV, tai’s works read like video essays. The audio at times layers ASMR sound therapy with distorted music from artists like Lil Uzi Vert. tai does more than select scenes from works (including Moonlight, Queen of the Damned, Gothika, Boomerang, B*A*P*S, and Eve’s Bayou). Their digital labors rearrange and reframe scenes in refreshing ways, pushing the boundaries, format barriers, and the possibilities of film art. They subvert and defy —queer, if you will—a typical audience’s viewer expectations to make the familiar foreign, turning over stones you didn’t know could move in the pursuit of meaning.