A Conversation with Brazilian Visual and Sound Artist, Researcher and the Man Behind Glitch.Art.Br, Cleber Gazana
Still from Designing Failures, 2013, Video, Cleber Ganza, Exhibit: FILE - Electronic Language International Festival, Brazil - 2013
All Artwork by Cleber Gazana.
Last August, an idle cyber-jaunt had me stumble across some stunning, curated artwork on a modestly sized, yet exceedingly interesting, IG account called Glitch.art.br. In the super-micro-milli-nano-seconds following my landing on the account page (and that marketers will tell you is just about the attentions span of the nu-age consumer blah-bla..) I could tell that the works were very good in quality, thoughtfully selected, and originated from a variety of different processes, hands and minds.
And I was impressed.
This led me to Cleber Gazana and his own edgy website, and by that time I knew what I had to do. In December 22, I managed to sync up with Cleber and well, below is an excerpt from our very cool and enlightening interaction:
Still from Read Error - Black, Grey, White (gif), 2015, exhibit: GIF Interactive Arts Festival, Canada
Malcolm Fernandes: How would you describe yourself and what you do, Cleber?
Cleber Gazana: How's it going, Malcolm? Thank you so much for this interview. Answering the question, I am a designer by academic background and have been working with this for the last twenty-two years. I also work as a professor in higher education courses at USJT, FAAP and Belas Artes (Brazil), in design, visual arts, cinema, advertising courses. I am a researcher in art and technology as a member of the group c/A/t — science/ART/technology — Institute of Arts — UNESP/CNPQ, and I dedicated myself to research glitch art in my master's degree in this same university. I believe it was the first master's degree on this subject in the country. In addition, I am a visual and sound artist. I had the opportunity to exhibit artworks in events like Artech (Portugal and China), Ars Electronica (Austria), Siggraph (Canada), FILE (Brazil). As a solo artist, I have also been working with glitch art, and have showed my work in more than 13 countries. I was a guest artist in the first documentary about this art in Brazil, the Glitch Art — Estética do erro no Brasil documentary, where I also did the soundtrack. I’ve had my glitch art work researched by Ignas V. Janulis, from Vilniaus Dizaino Kolegija (Lithuania) and also by Hebert Freitas, from the Design course at USJT (Brazil). In the sound area I work mainly with ambient, drone, industrial, glitch, noise, field recording, sound art, under the name Simple.Normal. Some of my sound construction can be accessed and heard for free at https://simplenormal.bandcamp.com/
Malcolm Fernandes: Can you tell us about Glitch.art.br?
Cleber Gazana: The Glitch.art.br International Online Exhibition is a platform designed to promote, exhibit, and provide a dedicated space for interacting with and discussing glitch art. It is an exhibition organized in Brazil but is intended for a global audience. The exhibition allows for a wider worldwide audience to access an online program that brings together artworks and texts by current artists and researchers. The exhibition is particularly interested in featuring artworks that explore the critical, artistic and free use of technology. Also, we believe that the theoretical discussion of these practices and artistic genres are also important. All artists and researchers are invited to reflect on the contemporary context of the experimental and theoretical practice behind glitch art. As a researcher I believe it is important to have another official register of the event, so I publish a book, which is at the same time a catalog, with texts by researchers too. So, the event has an official publication with an ISBN but the book is only in digital format for now. Maybe one day we will make a printed version on demand.
Malcolm Fernandes: Who do/did you collaborate with to make this happen?
Cleber Gazana: I had the support of the artist Sabato Visconti (Massachusetts, USA), in curating the first edition, and in this third edition I also had the same kind of support from the artist Fabio Oliveira Nunes / Fabio FON (São Paulo, BR). I also have some support in organizing the information received, generating certificates of participation etc. In this case, Rosângela Macedo supports me, but as I said, I don't have a fixed team per se.
Digitalize-se, web art, Exhibit: The Wrong Biennale
Malcolm Fernandes: What gave you the idea to start Glitch.art.br?
Cleber Gazana: It is an international exhibition held to allow artists to exhibit their artwork. I am a glitch artist and we need a space for it. The exhibition was born from the need to investigate and promote this important artistic genre that grows every year. The inspiration for this exhibition format came from the GLI.TC/H event, the Op3nr3po and Year of the glitch websites, and The Wrong exhibition. I have been involved with glitch art for over a decade and felt I could do this. The cool thing is the format. The idea is to be on the networks where people consume information and spend a lot of time in their day, you know. Instagram, YouTube and Bandcamp — people spend hours there, so I wanted to be there. So, in the URL of the official website there is no artwork, it's a model of curation and exhibition I guess, or just a way to make it reach people. So far, we’ve had great feedback from all over the world.
Malcolm Fernandes: Are there any other events you organize?
Cleber Gazana: No, currently I wouldn't even have time to organize another one.
Malcolm Fernandes: What are the biggest challenges you face in bringing such varied genres together in the way that you do? How do you overcome these challenges?
Cleber Gazana: Well, I have been getting about 150 submissions per issue. It is a really hard job to do alone. A lot of what I receive doesn't fit into the proposal of the exhibition. Of course, not everything is glitch art in the exact sense of the term, but the exhibition expands into other related possibilities. And I don't have any specific curatorial training. I am just a glitch artist who wants to help other artists. We see, we watch, we listen, we read the theoretical background of the artworks, we discuss about it and, fitting within the perspectives of the exhibition, the artwork is selected. That’s just it.
Still from Decode, video, 2015, exhibit: Glitch - Parsons Paris
Malcolm Fernandes: As an artist, where do you find inspiration?
Cleber Gazana: For my works I've been taking inspiration from theoretical studies, internal, personal reflections, from experimental music, industrial, dark ambient and everything that is noisy. I like to work with noise and sound texture. I'm not a trained musician, nor do I consider myself a musician. I like to study and create for a project, then I delete it from my mind. I don't like to perform, to practice and those kinds of things. My work is more personal; I do what I like to see and listen to, if it interests other people that's okay, if it doesn't, that's okay too.
Malcolm Fernandes: Who/What are your biggest artistic influences?
Cleber Gazana: Oh, man, there are a lot. Well, almost everything that inspires me comes from music, visual arts and design. But oh, from visual art, Dadaism: Kurt Schwitters, Hugo Ball — Gerhard Richter is very interesting to me too. From graphic design: Wolfgang Weingart, Zuzana Licko, David Carson, Neville Brody, after all, I am a designer, right? From music, it goes from Luigi Russolo's Italian futurists, through electroacoustic music, to Nine Inch Nails, Einstürzende Neubauten, Bauhaus and more dark ambient stuff.
Malcolm Fernandes: Tell us about your favorite art?
Cleber Gazana: Well, I don't really have a favorite art, yet. I am composing for the Simple.Normal project where I am using piano, cello and soundscapes recorded by myself. There are 3 albums actually, the second one has more focus on soundscape and Drone Music, although I don't call my sound works “music”, they are Sound Constructions. And the last one, I get back to annoying people with my aesthetic noises :). I am not sure when they will be available, I need to take more time to do the mixing and mastering, only then will these sound constructions be made available.
"I don't think much about the future of art. I believe that it will continue, as it has always done."
Malcolm Fernandes: What is the art scene like in Brazil?
Cleber Gazana: The country is really abundant in art, be it due to exhibitions or due to its countless artists. We have a huge variety of art, from painting, sculpture, installations, interactive art, sound art, and so on. The institution where I teach has an important art museum, the MAB — Museu de Arte Brasileira, something rare to be seen. Of course, glitch art is still a small movement and we have some artists producing this kind of art here, but it has a limited interest from institutions and the recognized art circuit.
Flashes Screens Light n.1 [to 10]. (video), 2015, Exhibit: Leap Second Festival - One Second Film Festival
Malcolm Fernandes: What’s the future like for Glitch.art.br?
Cleber Gazana: The idea is that every year we will have a new edition. We will follow the same exhibition concept and maybe make some partnerships. It would be nice to have an edition in a physical space too as an alternative — not in a museum or something like that, we don't need that to be glitch artists, not now.
Malcolm Fernandes: In your view, what does the future of Art look like?
Cleber Gazana: Perhaps the most difficult question so far. I don't think much about the future of art. I believe that it will continue, as it has always done, in my understanding, reflecting the historical period it is in, reflecting the social, cultural, aesthetic, technological, political and economic context of the time — in art and technology we have seen arts in networks, web, interactive arts, with artificial intelligence, augmented reality, that kind of thing. I believe that issues of sustainability — as we have already explored in artworks of the c/A/t group — issues of gender, citizenship, surveillance, should also appear. And it may be silly of me, but I think the pandemic will also bring an impact on the artworks created in the coming years, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Malcolm Fernandes: Any advice for folks who would like to walk in your footsteps?
Cleber Gazana: I don't know, I never thought about it, really, I believe you’ve got to just go and do it! Produce your art, make your contacts, study hard, create what motivates you and it will resonate with someone.
"I believe you’ve got to just go and do it! Produce your art, make your contacts, study hard, create what motivates you and it will resonate with someone."
Malcolm Fernandes: Any other message you would like to send out?
Cleber Gazana: I want to invite everyone to get to know the Glitch.art.br International Online Exhibition and give some appreciation to the artists there. Also get to know the previous editions and the two books we have already published. Feel free to send artworks for future editions as soon as we will initiate submissions for 2023. Any contact to talk about glitch art will also be welcome and you can write to me.
Cleber Gazana. Find out more about Cleber and his work, here: https://www.clebergazana.com.br/
All Pictures Courtesy the Artist.
This blog post copyright 2023 Malcolm Fernandes All Rights Reserved.