Sometimes Bryan Peterson will sit in the back room of his Los Angeles house for eight hours at a time. Streams of colorful, wavey, psychedelic glitches cascade an old boxy TV screen, while Peterson sits to the side of the monitor, usually tinkering and twisting nobs on a large mixer of some sort, and pushing the ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons on a Gameboy color that he custom wired as a vessel to perpetuate his digital art. Sometimes his distorted imagery gets a little too distorted, but Peterson trudges on, experimenting with different digital inputs like a mad scientist. In some cases the process is more important than the finished result.
For Peterson, the artistic process is marked by a succession of inputs and outputs. The camera or video is inputted, travels through a series of mixers and custom processors and creates an output that then creates a new input, and so on. Through his glitched GIFs, VHS edits, and digital installations, Peterson seeks to subvert and problematize common technologies. Formed out of a growing movement of artists in Chicago who deliberately incorporate brokenness, Peterson’s work calls for an intentional hack of regular technology, reconstruction, and total complication of the aspects of computer culture. By embracing the cyber flaws, short circuits, and disjointed components, Peterson is interested in exploring the ways in which technological systems and equipment can be realigned, modified and played with critically.
We spent some time with Bryan Peterson in his wire-infested studio space for our Between the Lines series, where he walked us through his process, his influences, and his elaborate collection of VHS tapes.