I love you
backgrounder on digitalcraft
Pictures of the digitalcraft department
Museum sights
I love you - love greetings from the museum

Press announcement, April 2002:

The digitalcraft department of mak.frankfurt is conceiving the first exhibition in a museum context dedicated to the phenomenon of computer viruses.

Nowadays computer viruses are an integral part of our computerised everyday life. The damages to national economies, caused by the more than 60000 viruses appeared until now, generate costs of many billions. In the case of “I love you” the independent US research institute Computer Economics estimates the damage to 8,75 billion US $.

digitalcraft takes up this controversial subject to analyse it, to collect background information and to present artworks dealing with this new reality to an interested audience.

The exhibition with the title "I love you – computer_viren_hacker_kultur", to be seen in the Museum for Applied Art (mak.frankfurt) in Frankfurt from May 23 to June 23, has been conceived by the digitalcraft-team, directed by Franziska Nori. For the first time in Germany an exhibition takes up the topic computer viruses and takes the challenge of visualising a virtual phenomenon in a museum context.

The exhibition "I love you" is an experiment with contemporary art in the era of digitalisation, it uses its own paradigms und until now very unusual ways of expression. Basis are the latest technologies, for the creative output they are material as well as means of communication. A growing new generation of artists operates with these modern technologies and enlarges its area of influence to the reality of a permanently changing society of knowledge and information.

Why computer viruses in a museum? Viruses can become “objects” of applied digital art (digital artisany), when their artistic and aesthetic potential is put into question. But what are actually computer viruses? What people hide behind them? What motivations do hackers have?

On an area of 150 square meters the exhibition creates a connection between computer viruses as causes of economic damage and inspiration for art. Divided into several sections, the following thematical areas will be displayed for interactive exploration with the help of 8 PC, 4 Imac and 7 SunRay workstations:

- the by now 30-year–old history of computer viruses and their technical development
- interactive database containing several hundreds of emulated viruses (made harmless)
- demonstration of the effects and interesting payloads (payload = end result visible on the monitor after a virus contamination) of selected viruses
- visualisation of the source code used for virusprogrammes, particular attention is paid to the aesthetic component of the codecreation
- specific examples of experimental poetry in juxtaposition with viruscode (Apollinaire's Calligrammes, traditional Haikus, Lewis Caroll, Ernst Jandl, Larry Wall's perl poetry; Perl = programming language)
- internet based artworks inspired by computerviruses of free software artists like epidemiC, WWW.0100101110101101.ORG, Jaromil)

The exhibition picks up the challenge to visualise digital processes, which normally are hidden in the blackbox of a computer.

On the one hand technical aspects are illustrated, on the other hand the focus is on the visualisation of the hidden processes caused by the viruses, as well as on specific aspects of viruses’ aesthetics. Various computers highlight the external appearance of selected virus programmes and their effects. Source codes that form the basis of a virus work as starting points for comparisons with experimental literature. The participating experts and artists belong to the following different disciplines: web and software art, code poetry, IT security, free software programming, media sociology, art history, literature.

One of the perspectives the exhibition takes up devotes itself to the programming code as a language, which, besides its mere functionality, has a high artistic and aesthetic standard. Comparable to the experimental poetry of the early vanguard – Baudelaire, Rimbaud, the poétes maudits as well as Apollinaire and the surrealists – code society.

The following experts from different disciplines will take part at the exhibition and at the round table discussion on the opening event:

- Florian Cramer (Freie Universität Berlin, Institute for General and Comparative Literature Studies)
- epidemiC (artist and programmer collective, Milan)
- Jaromil (free software programmer and code poet)
- (web artist)
- Eric Chien(Chief Researcher Symantec Security Responce Europe)

The exhibition is supported by:
Friedrich von Metzler
Symantec Corp.

For further information:
Franziska Nori
Scientific director dpmt. digitalcraft
Schaumainkai 17
60594 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 0049-(0)69-21234037
Fax: 0049-(0)69-21230703