Karaoke (2011)

Caught between the glide and the slip, GLTI.CH Karaoke exposes the course of accidents, of temporary lyrical disjoints & technical out-of-syncs

Full Description

Using free versions of Skype, YouTube and collaborative web software TinyChat, we orchestrate duets between people who had never met each other, who don’t speak the same language, bypassing thousands of geographic miles with glitchy, highly compressed data and a little bit of patience. Time delays are often minimal, even though we sometimes send our data over any 3G mobile network or hijacked WiFi router we can get our hands on. Arguments over what songs we’ll sing together are few and far between.

GLTI.CH Karaoke begins from the aesthetic philosophy of glitch and runs with it into the realm of the social. The “glitches” of GLTI.CH Karaoke that we are exploring are not just in the unexpected outcomes of the hardware/software/technology that we are using, but the idiosyncrasies that come in the grand experiment of being a human being living, working, and playing with other human beings.

GLTI.CH Karaoke is not a solitary affair. Even at its simplest, even at its most “imperfect,” each event is the manifestation of highly-sophisticated levels of collaboration and coordination between, yes, the coordinators and attendees of each event, but also of the software development teams of YouTube/Livestream/Skype/Facebook/Google, etc. the individuals who have and continue to upload karaoke videos on YouTube, those who maintain the servers and telecommunications of the internets, electricity companies, so on and so forth.

GLTI.CH Karaoke asks what if we apply the philosophy of glitch aesthetics to human relationships–in this case, specifically in the development of a heterotopic community built on telepresent karaoke? As a project which seeks to set up unecessarily-elaborate portals of amateur singing, GLTI.CH Karaoke posits that there is discernible value and–dare we say it?–joy in 1) the collective stumbling, tripping, and frustrations met in the face of technological limits, language barriers, and time zone differences (to name but a few) 2) oblique experimentation and 3) embracing and folding in “errors” in future iterations rather than seeking to “overcome” them or eradicate them.

Using the universal grammar of Karaoke videos, ripped from YouTube, we posit the glitch as a site of artistic autonomy. Using different kinds of technologies and networks, many of them built for completely different tasks, GLTI.CH Karaoke not only inhabits the errors, the time delays and compression artifacts, but the ultimate variable of human interaction. Here, we believe, a neutral collaborative space can be mapped out, free to transcend markets, locations, timezones – free to roam between abandoned city basements, student bed sits and internet café laptops. GLTI.CH Karaoke events revel in the slippery nature of the web. Our manifesto asks to be written and rewritten as it gathers cracks, bruises and mistranslation errors.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2011
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Thursday Mar 28th, 2013
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • Daniel Rourke, co-creator
    • Kyoung Kim, co-creator
  • Collective:
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Artist Statement

Caught between a glide and a slip, the glitch exposes the course of accidents, of temporary lyrical disjoints and the technical out-of-syncs. From the Japanese for ‘empty’ and the English ‘orchestra’ Kara-oke is a global portmanteau, errored in the translation between screens and earworms. GLTI.CH Karaoke establishes its own time-codes as webcam data jolts and audio streams jostle from server to internet server. GLTI.CH Karaoke is a duet happening across multiple time zones, a global hit-parade pushed through the web by the force of awful lip-syncs. With a fondness for compressed pixels and midi programmed synthetics, GLTI.CH Karaoke is a moving, not a movement. A rapid infection spreading like an earworm across nations and networks, GLTI.CH Karaoke asks humans to err: to seek out the Gremlin and sing with it. GLTI.CH Karaoke is not a hack or some fancy programming. It’s taking the front-end of things and trying to make something else. We’ve made the mishmashed world of GLTI.CH Karaoke through play and we hope you’ll sing with us.

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