The commissions responded to the idea of the ‘virus’ for Anti-Bodies: Beyond The Body-Ideal, a series of projects that reflect on the ideal ‘body-machine’ of the Olympic athlete. By virus we mean to draw attention to any agent that is able to reproduce itself and spread over communications networks and infect the host body. For instance, a computer virus describes the self-reproducing activities of a program that can simply spread and affect other programs, and thereby reflects the structural properties of the computer and the network it operates through. Moreover, the cultural form of a virus embodies the principles of negation in keeping with the anti-bodies theme.
There are a number of precedents for artists dealing with the virus as metaphor in the broadest sense. An example is the biennale.py virus that contaminated the Venice Biennale’s web site (produced by
0100101110101101.org with epidemiC, for the Slovenian pavilion of 2000). For the programmer Jaromil, the source code of a virus is potential lyrical poetry. Related to this, the elegance of his Unix shell forkbomb (2002) encapsulates this aesthetic approach in presenting only thirteen characters to dramatic effect. Once entered into the command line of a Unix shell and run, the program exhausts the system’s resources, causing the computer to crash. It was also included in the exhibition I Love You: Computer, Viren, Hacker, Kultur (held at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, in 2002), referring to the ‘I Love You’ virus (of 2000) that spread through the communities of the Internet. The destructive potential of a virus operates in the spirit of auto-destruction and Dadaist tactics to negate the destructive tendencies of the social world.
vir.us.exe, carlos katastrofsky (2009)
Webpage on server / Windows program, http://katastrofsky.cont3xt.net/home/?p=225.
An essay by Luis Silva, vir.us.exe contextualises the project (download from Documents), first published in Creating Insecurity (Autonomedia 2009).
a member of Team GB map of Influence, Heath Bunting (2010)
Online / printed edition of 500, http://status.irational.org/.
An essay by Stevphen Shukaitis, On the Borders of Everyday Life; Or, How to. Join? Team GB was commissioned as part of the printed edition as an A4 leaflet (download from Documents).
The overall Anti-Bodies programme is curated and co-ordinated by Relational, supported by Arts Council England and has been granted the London 2012 Inspire mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad.