ExtraFile: Databending and corrupt files as art

ExtraFile: Databending and corrupt files as art

Sometimes accidents — like a slip of the hand while painting, or a wrong note while recording — create the most beautiful results. With many forms of art and design moving onto our computers, digital accidents are bound to happen too, but usually they’re reversible.

Corrupted files, on the other hand, are completely permanent and cause big headaches for photographers and designers. I’ve encountered my fair share of them while transferring files from cheap hard drives, and was surprised to find charm in the pattern-based, pixelated results. There’s a growing group of people that believe digital files are ripe for exploitation, and they may be on to something.

ExtraFile, created by  Kim Asendorf, is conceptual software art that provides new file fortmats specifically designed to create wild artifacts. The new formats explore the potential of noncommercial and artistic image data, and lead to awesome, unpredictable results.

Download the program (Mac OS X only), open any image and then export it to one of seven new formats4BC (vintage digital), BASCII (1bit format), BLINX (stable recreation), CCI (RGB), MCF (monochrome), USPEC (weird and colorful), XFF (base format). Each format has its own built in effect. See what ExtraFile did to TNW’s logo here.

ExtraFile isn’t the only project in this space, either. Databending/Glitch artists are growing in number, which means there’s tons of work already out there to admire. GLI.TC/H, a Chicago digital art project, funded a gathering for 2011 via Kickstarter. There’s also Vimeo and Flickr users dedicated to glitches and corrupt files.

Do you think of corrupted files can be considered art?

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