American Glitch by artists Andrea Orejarena and Caleb Stein explores the friction between fact and fiction and how this is manifested in the U.S. landscape. An ocean of information leaves us questioning what is real — and what isn’t. In an era defined by screens, the notion that we’re in a simulation has become popular, often in a satirical cultural protest to late stage capitalism, disinformation and increased technological dependence.

Orejarena and Stein spent years treating the internet as their collective subconscious, collecting social media posts of people’s ‘real life glitches’ as part of their lengthy research process, which are presented in the book as four dimensional reverberations through time and space; the duo later made formal photographs of a series of sites around the U.S. which are reminiscent of the glitches.

The book includes an essay by David Campany, The Glitch is in Us, and a 52-page insert placed into the book, featuring contributions from 36 renowned artists, writers and curators, including Francesca Hummler.


Revealing Familial Glitch
by Francesca Hummler

I call my mother and her voice comes through the four vibrating diaphragms shaken by an electrical current on my phone; “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.” This witticism, which she has innumerably placated herself with about my father’s treatment of her, is attributed to Einstein, another German physicist. Notably, Einstein’s understanding of quantum mechanics dictated that insanity is how our world works. 

While the operation of our world depends on particles acting differently with every collision, we continue to value habit, order, and sameness. We’ve divided ourselves into neat units, families designed to raise us. Ostensibly families are meant to be started by love and continued by it. Yet, those most likely to abuse us are our family members. A familial glitch is when our desired safe space turns sour.  

"Social glitch" is often treated as unnatural, but as with digital anomaly, it is a natural occurrence produced by the structures dictating the process of formation. A loving family is an ideal that glitches under the pressure of power imbalances. In general, photography perpetuates this glitch, rarely showing our worst moments and celebrating our milestones.

Evidence of the personal responsibility required to cover up glitches with smiling faces is found in the responses garnered when we utter the truth of our family’s malfunction. The difficulty we face openly confronting generational trauma leads many artists, like Amrita Chandradas and Elena Helfrecht, to communicate familial deviations through their craft. A literal re-framing of our memories and relationships, photography can save us from the destruction of refusing to process our disappointments. 

The trend in educating oneself on the dangers of perpetuating familial abuse accompanies an uptick in photographers examining their family albums’ glitches. My images also use the camera as a pattern-breaking tool. 

Now I’m on a three-way call, with three countries in attendance. My grandfather has entered sepsis in the hospital 30 km from where he was born. He can only utter my mother’s name, the three letters she hated all her life, for not being feminine enough.