Data Loss Cruft (Corruption)
This cruft algorithm downloads a recent photo from the Whitehouse.gov website as well as a report published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism listing U.S. covert drone war casualty estimates. The text file of casualty estimates is literally inserted into the binary code of The White House photo. The drone war information becomes hidden from view, but corrupts the image producing visual distortion often referred to as a glitch. This work uses digital leftovers, consisiting of information either usually forgotten, or in the case of the drone war information, it is usually hidden, and in the process this cruft re-generates a new image by altering the data, which then reminds us of it's origin.Covert Drone War Casualty Estimates
Covert Drone War Casualty Estimates CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004–2013 Total US strikes: 371 Obama strikes: 320 Total reported killed: 2,505-3,584 Civilians reported killed: 407-928 Children reported killed: 164-195 Total reported injured: 1,111-1,493 US Covert Action in Yemen 2002–2013 Confirmed US drone strikes: 50-60 Total reported killed: 254-370 Civilians reported killed: 15-56 Children reported killed: 2-3 Reported injured: 65-147 Possible extra US drone strikes: 81-100 Total reported killed: 289-463Civilians reported killed: 23-48Children reported killed: 6-9Reported injured: 81-106 All other US covert operations: 12-77 Total reported killed: 148-377Civilians reported killed: 60-88Children reported killed: 25-26Reported injured: 22-111 US Covert Action in Somalia 2007–2013 US drone strikes: 3-9 Total reported killed: 7-27 Civilians reported killed: 0-15 Children reported killed: 0 Reported injured: 2-24 All other US covert operations: 7-14 Total reported killed: 47-143 Civilians reported killed: 7-42 Children reported killed: 1-3 Reported injured: 12-20 Methodology
— Casualty Estimates, CIA Drone Strikes. Retrieved from
Further ResourcesThe Bureau of Investigative Journalism
The Bureau pursues journalism which is of public benefit. They undertake in depth research into the governance of public, private and third sector organisations and their influence. They make their work freely available under a Creative Commons licence.
Covert Drone War provides a full dataset of all known US drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. This analysis has changed the public’s understanding of US actions and revealed that under Obama over 3,000 people, including nearly 500 civilians, have been killed by drones. The findings have been used widely in media outlets including the New York Times, Pakistan’s Dawn, and the BBC. In 2013 the Drones team won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism, was invited to give evidence to the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones and was commended by Jamie Shea, assistant deputy general secretary, NATO and Christof Heyns, United Nations special rapporteur on extra judicial killings.
CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers
My work includes traditional art practices in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Recent work includes generative art, performance, installation, and network based art. My arts practice explores the Internet not just as a distribution platform but organized under the umbrella concept of Cruft. I take apart, juxtapose, recycle, and interrupt the relentless flow of media to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it. Computer code is automated and runs on a server which at specified times goes out to the Internet and scrapes source material from the web to then produce a form of digital collage. Each auto-generated Cruft is the digital residue created from the information flowing through the Internet at that moment. This work is then automatically uploaded to my web site for distribution to the viewing public. My work on Cruft has encouraged me to think about the nature of the unique art object and it’s dematerialization, from atoms to bits, allowing for potentially infinite copies.
Misdirection as Mass Deception
Like the magician performing sleight-of-hand to deceive and misdirect the eye, those in power tell us where to look and what to think. The mass media provides the stage where the deception unfolds focusing public attention with emotion and fear. Having been in lower Manhattan on September 11th 2001, I experienced first hand the collision of terrorism and warfare into the visual, resulting in our network connected screens compressing the time between living and documenting an event. The media showed images of the planes impact and the buildings collapse in a repetitive loop. Our screens became weapons of terror, the system of representation was hijacked and we were forced to relive those terrifying moments by viewing images presented as a never ending present. In 2003, as the United States invaded Iraq, I began to notice how the media presented images that contributed to fear and consensus, and as the images disappeared from view, I wondered what became of these digital leftovers and I then started creating auto-generated Cruft.