Gorbals Glitch


Gorbals Glitch

Simona Giordano


The game takes place within a virtual dimension created from the historical records of the Gorbals. This digital world reconstructs the urban landscape using data from past buildings, blending them with their current remnants. With much of the original architecture lost, the structures materialize gradually, pixel by pixel or brick by brick, as if fading into the sky over time. Amidst the urban transformation, the Caledonia Road Church stands resilient, one of the rare survivors from the era before regeneration. It serves as an isolated gateway to other accessible regions. Moving away from the church involves utilizing portals—stained glass windows that pay homage to the Old Gorbals and its inhabitants—facilitating travel and connecting the past with the present.



The Gorbals, situated on Glasgow’s south bank by the River Clyde, saw a rapid population increase due to industry opportunities in the late 19th century. At its zenith in the 1930s, including adjoining areas, Gorbals held around 90,000 residents, resulting in high population density. Post-WWII redevelopment brought fluctuations, with today’s population notably smaller. The district featured 16 high-rise blocks, now reduced to six in 2023, with two more scheduled for demolition. Similar to other cities, Glasgow Corporation’s 1950s post-war planning involved demolishing inner districts like Gorbals, relocating residents to new estates and concrete towers. My exploration delves into Gorbals’ history, aiming to comprehend the indelible impact of poor housing management on its community’s collective memory. The area’s ever changing urban landscape and community’s precarious existence attract my focus, particularly the site, one of the few still standing.



Through visual expression, glitch art involves purposefully incorporating digital or analogue imperfections to achieve aesthetic intent, achieved by deliberately distorting digital data or physically manipulating electronic devices. In glitch art, the deliberate manipulation of digital data or electronic devices to create visual distortions and errors can serve as a metaphor for the loss and decay experienced in various contexts. In the case of the Gorbals’ destroyed buildings, these glitches become symbolic representations of the loss of architectural and historical heritage. The intentional disruption of the images parallels the disruption and erasure of physical structures, cultural significance, and communal memories, that once existed in the area.



The digital realm has expanded the concept of playgrounds through intricate virtual worlds designed for play. Experimental games, termed “emotional playgrounds,” blend traditional playful design with contemplative experiences, focusing on generating emotions through play. Walking simulators, a game genre associated with non-violent gameplay, have evolved to explore diverse forms of expression, environment exploration, and community engagement. This genre has sparked discussions about anti-game aesthetics, shifts in gamer demographics, and spatial storytelling. The term “Walking Simulator” unintentionally tapped into a rich legacy, drawing from historical concepts of urban strolling with contemplative intent, like the Situationist movement.




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