Josh Urban Davis


Postcards from the Electric Void (2018)

The aesthetics of glitch art is the aesthetics of mistakes. This metaphor functions as a healing practice in that it allows us to see fallibility as valuable. Algorithms carry a utilitarian imperviousness — their failures a reflection of their creators shortcomings. Glitch aesthetics offer an opportunity to see this failure as a bizarre healing practice. In Postcards from the Electric Void, artist and engineer Josh Urban Davis trained a neural network on a dataset of colorized space images. By asking a machine to imagine the composition of our universe, we facilitate a poetic dialogue between the unfathomably large void of space and the infinitesimal void of data. When the machine produces something plausible as an image of our universe, the experience is uncanny. However, when the machine produces glitches and errors, these aesthetics reflect a recognizable shortcoming in the machine’s inability to reconcile in unfathomable. In this way, the void-glancing machine is recognizable as fallible, creating a point of empathic connection, and maybe momentarily salving the anxiety of mechanistic supremacy. For more information, please visit