A Virus in the Venice Biennale:
With Love from Slovenia
virus is usually considered evil, chaos. But what happens when it is a
contemporary art temple to spread the chaos?
Conceived and compiled for the invitation to the 49th Venice Biennale,
"biennale.py" is the product of the collaboration of two entities,
0100101110101101.ORG and epidemiC, already known for other shocking
actions, often bordering with crime. "biennale.py" is both a work of art
and a computer virus.
The source code of the virus will be made public and spread on the
opening day of the Biennale, June 6th 2001, from the Slovenian Pavilion.
The main anti-virus software companies have already been informed about
the technical specifications of "bienale.py" and the disinstallation
instructions will be attached to the virus.
Computer viruses or self-reproducing programs behave according to the
same modus operandi of biological viruses: they attack an "organism",
that is a file, sometime to settle and install their own habitat, and in
other more rare cases, to destroy it. Viruses, thus, spread respecting
the species conservation laws and the survival instinct. A virus is.
More, a virus wants to exist instinctively and without mediations, and
it is just this the main and only function of "biennale.py": to survive.
The creation of a virus tout court, free and without an end or a goal,
is in the worst case a test, a survey on the limits of the Net, but in
the best case is a form of global counterpower, generally a
pre-political form, but that resists the strong powers, it puts them
under a new balance, it shakes and reassembles them. A new idea of a
"virus that is not just a virus" is gaining acceptance, and that it can
represent the outbreak of the social into the most social thing of all:
Inside the Slovenian Pavilion it will be possible to read the source
code of "biennale.py" and test its functioning on an infected computer.
During the opening days of the Biennale thousands of t-shirts carrying
the source code of the program will show up. Paradoxically, such as in
biological viruses, "biennale.py" will spread not only through machines
but also through men. The paradox becomes even more clear if you think
that the virus, a vague and dangerous entity by definition, is for sale
to adventurous curators and collectors. To buy a computer virus is
probably one of the most exciting investments one could make today.
The "biennale.py" fits perfectly with the context of the Pavilion of the
Slovenian Pavilion, that this year will present the Absolute One
project. With Absolute One, the Slovenian Pavilion, starting from the
basic question on how the artist could consctructively operate and
actively respond to the globalization process, offers a strong and
optimistic signal instead of the spreading fatalism and of the idea of
inevitability. The artists that will represent Slovenia in the 49th
Venice Biennale, besides the forth mentioned ones, will be Vuk Cosic and
Tadej Pogacar. The new commissioner of the Slovenian Pavilion and
curator of the project is Aurora Fonda.
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