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Gaudi Parparcen and his ruthlessly glitched digital visions

Canadian artist Gaudi Parparcen discusses his practice of chronically heavy-handed application of glitch techniques and the purpose he find in it.

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Jun 11, 2023

Gaudi Parparcen, a Canadian artist better known as 'CtrlZ', creates some of the most evocative glitch art one may encounter on the internet today. Much of his work features vaguely recognisable imagery, including human features or strangely familiar environments, while some works are completely abstract. What remains constant is a ruthless level of glitching; the digital artist's work is almost brutal in its chronically heavy-handed application of glitch techniques, going so far as to evoke 'Software Gore,' which is a term used within certain circles to denote excavatory findings of interesting software errors from all over the world. Concerning his own technique, the artist tells STIR, "The current process that I use for creating the daily pieces CtrlZ is coming to be known for, is mostly through an application on my phone called GlitchLab by the developer Ilixia. I never really took into consideration the question of how to categorise my work, but I think Software Gore is definitely one way of putting it."

This doesn't exist, 2022, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ | STIRworld
This__doesn't exist, 2022, digital art, variable dimensions Image: Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ

Parparcen introduces himself to STIR, saying, "I currently live in Toronto, Canada, but I was born in Venezuela and moved there when I was seven. In terms of creative training, I had started back in high school where I was first introduced to Photoshop and from there fell in love with graphic design and digital art. After that, I picked up an interest in photography and film before I went into university for media production and ended up taking a bigger interest in the theory and philosophy of media."

Reaping time, 2022, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ | STIRworld
Reaping time, 2022, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZImage: Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ, Courtesy of Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ

The artist was about halfway through finishing his degree when the pandemic hit, and all would quickly change: Likely looking for ways to occupy himself, Parparcen would end up starting what would become the CtrlZ project. This has garnered him a rising level of acclaim within the glitch art community, and yet, the artist remains somewhat aloof to its roster. He explains that most of his experiences within the movement have just been through other artists that have randomly found his work online and that he tries to support them back in terms of visibility, more than anything else. "Although we all have little to no communication with each other", he says, "I hope to start reaching out to a variety of other practitioners, and also just to see what kind of community there is for these kinds of artworks, though one of the things that I do love about all the creatives that I have found is the variety of backgrounds and styles that they come from." Apart from the online Glitch art community, Parparcen also collaborates with local creatives in Toronto, including musicians who he hopes to work more with to merge practices and create a deeper audio-visual experience.

‘,:), 2021, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ | STIRworld
‘,:), 2021, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ Image: Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ, Courtesy of Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ

The artist has a hard time pinpointing which exact creatives have held the most influence on him because he immerses himself in art through the internet constantly. Owing to this, he finds himself inspired by so many pieces and creators that support him; creators who themselves are also creating fascinating visual work. He tells STIR, "In terms of artistic movements, there are a number that have influenced me. including impressionism, for among other reasons, the historical context that it has in relation to the advancement of technology and how that moved art into a medium that is freer for expression. One of the things that helps me find value in creating art is being able to look back and see the mass of work that I have created through a period of time, so I think that being prolific is something I strive for with my art." "So", he says, "I feel really inspired by artists like Van Gogh, Picasso or Dali." Other artists that come to Parparcen's mind are Nam June Paik and Jesus Rafael Soto.

The outside was silent, 2023, digital art, variable dimensions, Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ | STIRworld
The outside was silent, 2023, digital art, variable dimensions Image: Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ, Courtesy of Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ
The glitch artist finds work that portrays small and mundane moments as being very interesting to him, especially when they intersect with technology, and he often allows these to bleed into his work. "I feel that I am still developing the message that I want to send through my work, but for now, it’s a message about our perception of the everyday and the patterns and beauties that lie in plain sight." Parparcen maintains that above all, he wishes to be prolific and develop his message so as to give audiences an ever more captivating viewing experience.
Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ portrait image | STIRworld
Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ portrait image Image: Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ, Courtesy of Gaudi Parparcen/CtrlZ

Last December, Parparcen was presented with the opportunity to participate in the launch of a label and community art initiative called 'INRCHLD', which hosted a variety of talented musical acts and DJs including himself. During the event, there was an art gallery set up for the participating creatives, where multiple artists were invited to showcase their work. The artist put up some prints of his vivid imagery which marked the first time he had his pieces in a physical format. He says, "I hope to start amassing work, to be able to participate in more exhibitions in the near future. There are so many places that I would like to take my work to. I want to continue to develop the project that I’m currently working on, and to create as much digital artwork as I can. I especially want to develop more physical media, in order to start having my work showcased in physical spaces. I also want to collaborate more with other creatives, as developing something with others is an experience that I think is important to have as an artist, and I believe that this is a goal I can achieve through my magazine project called 'Eclectics Review'. Apart from the aforementioned, Parparcen is also excited at the prospect of further honing his other skills such as photography, film and writing and bringing those practices to build on previous works in order to take his art in new directions. "Ultimately, I think the loftiest goal of mine within my art is to be able to take my practice to an international level and to improve and grow the scope of the projects that I do to match that."

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