Descent by Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma
The work is a downloadable executable that pretends to be a virus that infects your computer. It begins by filling your desktop with pictures of rats. Suddenly, a massive church ascends from your desktop’s application bar and takes up the entire screen, and we are transported into a landscape of dead bodies and churches. The software concludes by destroying the plague of rats that have infested your computer. I am inspired by the project by it crossing the line between virus and art – though it isn’t exactly a virus (it is supposedly made in Unity) it is not afraid to pretend to be so that it makes the downloader feel uncomfortable, on edge, and ultimately, in the headspace to see the imagery of Descent in a different light (the software draws upon imagery from the Black Plague). I think it could have come with instructions on how to delete the actual application once finished (after downloading, I had to delete it myself), and also, with my desktop already being filled up with folders and other applications, I couldn’t see the rats. The project is inspired by Pieter Bruegel’s massive paintings, specifically the Triumph of Death. Viruses acting as art have existed since the 80s and 90s. I found this very interesting page about the subject: http://theconversation.com/computer-viruses-deserve-a-museum-theyre-an-art-form-of-their-own-54762
There have been viruses that ask you to stop using our computer and go “live.” Another example would be Biennale.py, a virus that quickly spread across the world for the 49th Venice Biennale.