Infrasense: How we learned to love the virus, Free Flow LectureApril 25, 2006, 6:00 pm »
Recurring assumptions, connotations and common perceptions accompany any entity, organism or string of code that deserves the label of virus. One of the most popular and wide-spread beliefs in today’s society portrays viruses as parasitical offenders that randomly invade passive, powerless and innocent hosts. However, this relation between host and virus is idiosyncratic and needs to be reassessed. Not only can the relation of virus / host be easily inverted and reassembled, but, also, the identity of the host can be changed into that of a proactive agent. Rather than being a mere receiver, such a newly empowered individual can purposely use the virus’ features or its very structure as an extension of the agency. Using a number of creative tactics, the host is able to select and appropriate features that characterize the virus and turn them to an advantage. A number of well-documented cases magnify how effective the use of viruses can be. The artists from the KIT collaboration also will be talking about their work with two other collaborations with which they work called “Battery Operated” and “C0C0S0L1DC1T1.”
KIT is a fluxing collaboration of artists, architects, programmers and writers. Working together since 1995, they have produced interactive robotic, sound, video and photographic installations, projects for architectural competitions and curated touring exhibitions. KIT projects have been realized in galleries, museums, festivals and off-site spaces across Europe, North America and Asia.
Reflecting the format of the group, the word “KIT” means an assembly of many parts. As a non-gender specific name, it allows for all sexes to identify and work within it. Those who form the collaboration for any given project never use their own identities within the context of KIT projects and assume anonymity.
The group consists of members from a diverse range of professions. Using a wide range of skills and techniques, KIT members examine the spatial, temporal and socio-political roles of mechanical and digital technologies within contemporary society. The celebration of dystopian interactions and transmissions within communication and transportation networks has been an ongoing theme throughout KIT projects.
The by-product, the crash and the virus within the system have all become reasons to (dis)believe. They are contaminations, events and lifeforms, which seize and subvert the global flow of bodies and information. When such phenomenon occurs, it exposes our dedication, reverence and dependence on technologies that offer escape and, ultimately, salvation.
Escape technologies, such as the Internet and the aircraft, propose movement and progress but also carry the inevitable cargos of stasis and hi-jack within their holds. KIT proposes that it is the latter events, which better expose the psychological economies and belief systems currently shaping and directing contemporary culture.
Directions that currently interest KIT include the new cultural dynamics created by the use of viral methods, models, codes or structures. The virus, traditionally deemed to be a destroyer, is now a source of inspiration for biologists, computer programmers and marketing strategists alike, who wish to better understand and mimic the most efficient process for spreading an idea or an antibody.
Understanding that the innate politics of working in such contexts could lead to didactic outcomes has led KIT to develop an approach that aims to defuse such readings. Through the use of bathos and black humor, KIT champions the dynamics of the accidental, the inert and the parasitic within networks that are based on the promise of constant deliverance.
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