#VIRAL, Feb. 28 – Apr. 5, 2015

Tool to Deceive and Slaughter

Opening Reception – Friday, February 27 from 6-8pm

The history and cultural assemblage of viral digital culture has morphed significantly since the Frankfurt Museum for Applied Art added viral code to their permanent collection in 2002 and hosted the ground-breaking “I Love You – computer_viruses_hacker_culture” exhibition. A fascination with viruses, as previously witnessed in the Slovenian Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale, has seeped into contemporary culture; it has “gone viral”, so to speak. In #VIRAL, this evolution is explored through the various forms in which digital art exists and through the many expressed applications of the word “viral” and “virus”.

Robert Lisek's Viral Capital
Viral Capital blends the behavior of a computer virus and biological viruses. http://lisek.art.pl/CAPITAL.html

Some pieces are representative of the idea that language is a virus. Cory Arcangel’s zines, The Source, contain information including source code, the language of computers. Ranjit Bhatnagar’s Pentametron represents a digital version of the cut up method–popularized by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Bhatnagar wrote an algorithm that locates iambic pentameter in the world of twitter, forms them into rhyming couplets, then retweets them. Other pieces are emblematic of the biological virus. Caleb Larsen’s A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter is a little black box that perpetually sells itself on eBay.  This “virus” accomplishes what every virus sets out to accomplish–replication and distribution. Combining his own DNA with the codes of different viruses (Lloviu virus, Polio virus, Marburg virus and Ebola virus), Robert B. LISEK created CAPITAL to model the ever-changing nature of the data that measures the transformation of his DNA, synthesis of code, and exchange in social environment. In Network, Sara Schnadt uses data visualization to illustrate the proliferation of information on social networks. Using a matrix of yellow rope, Schndat creates a three-dimensional way to interpret data, demonstrating how information can spread like a virus.

Artworks by: Cory Arcangel, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Darius Kazemi, Caleb Larsen, Robert B. LISEK, and Sara Schnadt