Infecter

April 2004

Supported by City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Jerome Foundation

MyDoom source code has been mapped and systematically “infected” with sections of source code from other prominent computer virii creating a series of shifting visual relationships. Based on the principles of genetic engineering — which attempt to turn off or on specific biological behaviors by inserting new genes or deleting sections of old ones — Infecter puts into motion an experiment with no hypothesis. The visual properties that emerge are based not on what we program them to do but on the interactions of language itself.

REQUIREMENTS

Flash plug-in.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Well known photographer and video artist, Shannon Kennedy has created her first work for the web. Kennedy has long been interested in revealing the organic and psychological menaces hidden in architectural structures. She used an endoscopic camera in “Building Project” to collect video footage of chemical by-products and organic growths accumulating within air ducts, drainage systems, around heating vents, and behind walls. Kennedy’s work offers the experience of architecture as if it were an organism that lives, breathes, grows and decays.

With “Infecter” Kennedy, and programmer Shaque, have created abstract visual interpretations of computer virus source code. Taking the virus MyDoom as a starting point, the source code has been mapped out and then systematically “infected” with sections of source code from other prominent computer virii creating a series of moving and shifting visual relationships. Based on the principles of genetic engineering — which attempt to turn off or on specific biological behaviors by inserting new genes or deleting sections of old ones — “Infecter” puts into motion an experiment with no hypothesis.

The visual properties that emerge are based not on what we program them to do but on the interactions of language itself. “Infecter’s” visual system is based on the gridded structures that scientists use to map out and read genetic sequences in biological organisms. “Infecter” turns a string of seemingly incomprehensible characters and letters into a viewable and dynamic visual analog. Thus, “Infecter” operates as a type of digital mapping that is, in effect, the opposite of the biological scientific process, which begins with images and culminates in a type of abstracted chemical language that presents a way to “read” a biological organism.

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