Perpetual Self Dis-Infecting Machine

'Perpetual Self Dis-Infecting Machine' (2004) is a software work by

"You people are pathetic fools. Do you truly believe that a virus is art? Innovative, perhaps. Interesting, maybe. But art? No. I'm not even saying what you're doing is dangerous. It's stupid and petty. Find yourself a real medium to work with or get a real job. 'Cause this ain't art." The artists of the collective received this email in response to the virus they had "exhibited" (read: spread) during the Venice Biennale.

The project caused much commotion and irritation, as the above reaction shows. The artists' collective sought to show with the (harmless) virus the degree to which computer viruses are mediatized: "We are not interested in damaging a computer, but more on the media effect viruses have." At the moment a new virus appears on the 'net, a veritable hysteria ensues and thousands of warning emails are sent out into the world.

The work presents the endless attack and counterattack of the viruses and antiviruses that infect the world of computing. The project brings to light many of the political, cultural, and business issues unique to the networked society while questioning our conventional ideas of identity, originality, and the role of the artist in the age of anonymous technological reproduction.

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