Monday, May 22, 2006

Going Viral

In a recent post, I lashed out at the recent dearth of symposiums and festivals here in the US that featured politically-charged new media art projects and that profiled progressive theoretical stances that, together with the art projects, would actively intervene in the traditional media culture we find ourselves awash in during this time of major political upheaval. I briefly made reference to The Yes Men, USDAT, and even Tom Tomorrow. But I forgot to mention Critical Arts Ensemble (CAE), and now Eyebeam is featuring an event around the release of their latest work, a book entitled Marching Plague: Germ Warfare and Global Public Health published by Autonomedia and appearing in conjunction with their art work “Marching Plague” included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

As we know from William Burroughs, language too is a virus, and CAE says:
Marching Plague examines the scientific evidence and the rhetoric surrounding biological warfare, particularly the development of anthrax and other bio-weapons, and makes a strong case against the likelihood of such weapons ever being used in a terrorist situation. Studying the history and science of such weapons, they conclude that for reasons of accuracy and potency, biological weapons lack the efficiency required to produce the widespread devastation typically associated with bioterrorism.
This is the same issue I addressed in my art work FILMTEXT but that oftentimes was overshadowed by the visual dynamics of the piece as a work of interactive cinema. That's why I wrote the artist article Expanding the Concept of Writing: Notes on Net Art, Digital Narrative and Viral Ethics for Leonardo. If you look at the FILMTEXT piece more closely, you will see all kinds of references to the interrelatioship between biological viruses, computer viruses, and media viruses, as well as the use of memes as a philosophical weapon to distort the political economy of meaning while building momentum for your [whose?] ideological agenda.

This kind of thinking is much more active at blogging sites like The Huffington Post and their Contagious Media Festival than in academic conferences.

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