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Glitch Theory: Art and Semiotics by Michael Betancourt
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archives begin in 1996

avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory
by Michael Betancourt

This site presents extracts from Michael Betancourt's current research and writing projects, with news about current developments. A portfolio of finished, published writing is available here.

His trilogy of studies on film theory using title sequences as a model uniting avant-garde, documentary and commercial motion pictures were published in the Routledge Studies in Media Theory and Practice series: Semiotics and Title Sequences, Synchronization and Title Sequences, and Title Sequences as Paratexts.

If you are looking for more on agnotology, digital capitalism, or automated/immaterial labor and AI, look at The Digital, which presents links to his most recently published articles and other research on the political economy of digital capitalism contained in his books The Critique of Digital Capitalism and Force Magnifier. This analysis identifies how digital technology has captured contemporary society in a reification of capitalist priorities that includes the shift to automation and AI. The theory proposed in this book is the description of how digital capitalism as an ideologically invisible framework is realized in technology.

You can watch his movies here.

More articles, reviews, interviews, and translations are posted on


17th Annual Digital Graffiti Festival - Alys Beach, FL on May 17-18, 2024

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 22, 2024 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  View Printable Version


I have a movie showing in the 17th Annual Digital Graffiti Festival, May 17-18, 2024. This year looks even better with more events and talks with the artists, curators, and organizsers!

Aphasic combines my visual poetry with my work in Glitch Art by animating a series of 32 typoems using both colored lines and a field of digital glitches. It takes its title from a medical condition where the ability to recognize language and communicate has been disrupted: both asemic poetry and Glitch Art converge in these brightly colored typoems allow viewers to focus on the ways their presentation as a video transforms the typical expectations for legibility when confronting text on screen. My asemic poems explore an experience I had while driving behind a truck with a big logo painted on the backlarge, gothic capitalsthat simply refused to resolve into coherent lettering for me. There were letters there and I could recognize that the curves and uprights were text, but it refused to become coherent as lettering. Making typoetry is my attempt to explore that experience, to modulate the recognition of lettering without the need to always or consistently produce letters, words, or lexical statements. Transforming them into a movie accentuates this engagement with the ambiguity of perception, a factor that glitching magnifies.

Institute for Electronic Arts Residency!

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 3, 2024 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  View Printable Version


The Institute for Electronic Arts is a high technology research studio facility within the School of Art and Design, NYSCC, Alfred University, New York. The IEA encourages and supports projects that involve interactive multi-media systems, experimental sonic/video production, digital imaging, and publications. The IEA is committed to developing cultural interactions spurred by technological experimentation and artistic investigations.

The IEA is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Schein-Joseph Endowment and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Foundation.


story © Michael Betancourt | published November 21, 2023 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  View Printable Version


Digitalvilla on Hedy-Lamarr-Platz & on ZooM
Part of the ZeM Annual Focus 2023/24 "Control of Loss"
Press Interview & Book Presentation: Monday 4th December, 3 p.m.

Registration required:

read more (522 words)

showing at Digital Graffiti 2023 on Alys Beach, FL

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 18, 2023 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  View Printable Version


My movie Making Gestures, Seeing Sounds is installed at site #41 in Digital Graffiti which opens Friday, May 19!

FYI: a Partial Pre-History of Glitch Art

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 27, 2023 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  View Printable Version


Glitch Art has claimed an extensive history of precedents and sources throughout both art history and media art. The contemporary use of digital glitches as a source of aesthetic and expressive imagery emerges from the lineage of avant-garde exploits of media and technology in the early twentieth century, and before that, the concerns of the Arts and Crafts movement with demonstrations of the 'human hand' in art making during the nineteenth century.

This small (and incomplete) selection highlights artists working at the end of the twentieth century who were employing glitches self-consciously in their work, but were active before, or apart from, the later social media groups on Flickr and Facebook that consolidated and brought the idea of glitches-as-art into general public consciousness. It should not be considered an exhausive, final or even complete presentation of the early artists pioneering glitches and Glitch Art, but is instead offered as a sampling of the kinds and range of works being done.

read more (1107 words)