Glitch: The Aesthetics of Failure @ The Isherwood Gallery, The Old Courts


Emoji summary: 📺⏳▶️

on the train to Wigan, i saw white mounds in a yard between a factory and the railway. i only noticed because they glittered v dramatically as tho there were clip art sparkles flashing over them, cartooned.

when I worked in North Woolwich last summer, the DLR used to go past the Tate & Lyle factory and some days, when the green net had been taken off it, you could see the sugar hill. It is kind of amazing how sugar was waitin there below the sky. I didn’t know if it was safe to leave it exposed like that; if it was the same sugar used to make syrup n stuff; or if birds ever sat on top and had a warm sleep. i think the white hills I saw on the way to Wigan were made of glass tho because I found a good window seat on the way back ready to take a video but the sun had gone in and they almost looked pale blue.


I came across to The Old Courts in Wigan because I saw an email about an exhibition at The Isherwood Gallery, ‘Glitch: The Aesthetics of Failure.’

PHYSICALLY: the gallery is upstairs where the floors are set in woven wooden patterns that reminded me of school halls or churches. the arrangement in the gallery space was quiteeee foundation show in that it was brimming with artworks that sat like constituent little islands in a room: like people not wanting others in their personal space. i passed by piece 2 piece, plodding like ur supposed to navigate that type of setup.

Something felt thin about the production. the information cards on basic gsm paper stuck next to works were too conspicuous in the room, even tho their guideline intentions were good. these should have just been neater. so physicall y y y i wanted it to be less, to b sharper and a little more to the point. (I wish i could b an Exhibition Consultant and fix these little easy things, help the space settle like a baby).

CRITICALLY: with this show the curator asks, ‘when we fail, do we glitch?’

yesterday i was in a car and the driver put a CD on of ‘outtakes’ from a trio lineup Dolly Parton is a part of. I asked why anyone would make or even buy the outtakes, but he said they weren’t outtakes because they were failed songs, they were just alternative compositions the trio didn’t end up using on the main album. I like that gesture - and I almost felt it happening with this exhibition, but there’s a problem because the artworks here are like odd songs pulled from far away onto one compilation album. They don’t quite hold up together. they don’t look at home.

I know it’s exciting to curate a show and let everyone in through the back door, say yes to everything n for the show to be a big hug ~ but then I’m not sure if that’s curation; i don’t think there’s parentheses.

and I’m not convinced by the glitch/fail byline anyway. It makes this album feel like echoes of art that would have landed better a few years ago (i’m a diehard internet millennial but even I have retired datamoshing, CRT tv-dvd combos for showing videos on, and the word glitch as a buzzword).

while I didn’t particularly like the show, I also wasn’t mad. In the same way listening to music on the radio is chill, i enjoying being at exhibitions (when there’s nothing problematic praise b 2 god), and it is nice to think and talk about art. i reaaaally liked that i was on an adventure to another city to do that, and the curator, Chel Logan, was super nice. I think when it comes to curation tho, what questions are really going to mean something to audiences who are not just artists?? like: What makes u sit still and daydream until ur mind finds answers? what ideas make you write notes on your phone? what are ur drunk conversations pivoting on? what do u speak to people about in work? (tbh i feel like I am always searching for shows that hold these lite frames, of genuine n urgent life things; stuff removed from art’s made up concerns. aesthetic experiences n quiet emotion. maybe i should literally b going 2 the theatre instead)

the exhibition closes 2day quick go go go

a shot out of the train of a factory with piles of what looks like broken glass, a slight pale blue
two arm chairs placed in the middle of a gallery space opposite CRTs showing video art work and framed images

a digital animation on a tv screen on a plinth, and a colourful mishmash of textures on a wall in a multimedia piece

a fabric piece loosely hangs on the wall