01: Even if we have always considered this action as one of the most interesting ever, we definitely prefer Erik Hobijn's theft of a drawing by Keith Haring from the Stedelijk Museum in 1983: not only he didn't go to prison, but he even got a ransom.
C.S.: What would your exact goal be? You're doing nothing criminal, and you are making your action explicitly as artists in an artcontext. That's why nobody would sue you in the end, and if, you would even profit from it for your own propaganda. Furthermore, your action here will not have any influence on further criminalization of hackers and crackers. And honestly, don't you think that the art system lives on the production and celebration of taboo breaking? The more radical art seems to be the better for the institution, at least, as long as it does not cause real trouble-like your virus.
01: This is the same old excuse that mediocre artists use to jusify their arty-farty work. Our action could set a precedent, so that in future cases viruses could be declared as works of art.
C.S.: Do you mean that any programmers who cause troubles and serious damage with viruses etc. should refer to your action and call themselves artists in order not to be made responsible for what they were doing?
C.S.: Sorry, but this sounds naive to me. Who defines that somebody is an artist? It is a complex process of self-proclamation, acting, reference, and acceptance by a system. I would doubt that a judge would be willing to accept that a dangerous virus-programmer suddenly has turned into an artist, refering to your precedent. Maybe, the only way would be, if you are really serious with that concern, that you declare future virus writers, who are sued for what they're doing, as members of your group, i.e. the guy who has recently been sentenced in Bologna. You already have the legitimation of the art system, so it might turn into a really interesting case in terms of checking the limits of art conception.
01: Thanks, we'll keep this for the next Biennale. ___6-J_0e _i_+™™____Äõ_#__?_?_"=?i_'?T ?__!(___8__$___&ê__˜X"rg_virus_red.rtf (In) | Of°_‡??oubt that the people you pretend to work for find out at all about your action. Although there are national differences, the worlds of hackers, artists and political activists are pretty much separated. There is not just different motivations behind these different activities, but often fundamentally different strategies in following goals, which seem not to go together very well. For example, political activists often tend to understand art as a source to deliver mere illustrations of their goals, or they are afraid that their political credibility might be reduced when their battle is related to art.
01: While most people think in watertight compartments, some of the most interesting and succesful actions are produced by the combination of different knowledges. Have a look at Mongrel, I/O/D/, Electronic Disturbance Theatre, Rtmark, Surveillance Camera Players, Negativland, just to mention a few examples. Making the hacking, art and activist scene join, you obtain a bomb. This is necessary not only for technical reasons, but also for marketing and selling. One of our goals at the Biennale is to sell the virus, to make money out of it.
C.S.: How much are the CD-ROMs?
01.: 1.500 USD each.
C.S.: It is now one week after the opening. Have you already sold any copies?
01.: We have already sold two of them to private collectors.
C.S: Is this what you mean by having/placing a bomb? Creating and selling a product which generates money?
01: A bad idea perfected is better than a good idea attempted.
C.S.: Thank you for the conversation. I am looking forward to your future bombings;-)
Published on: nettime-list, July 18, 2001
Published in ANAT newsletter #46, September-November 01, Sydney, Australia
*** Subject: help
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 11:07:43 +0200
From: "Carolyn R. Miller"
I think I may have gotten the biennale.py virus from the website of your collaborator, 0100101110101101.ORG. I read the press release, which was circulated on AIR-L and visited both websites, but at the 0100101110101101.ORG website I got caught in an approval loop that seemed to tell me that "now we're in your computer." I certainly did NOT know when I went to the site that this would happen and I did not voluntarily download any virus. 48 hours later or so I started having major problems. I run a MacG3, OS 8.6. I can't find any information on an internet search about how to get rid of the virus, so I hope you can tell me what to do.
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC USA
quote from the hacker dictionary (jargon file):
[from the obvious analogy with biological viruses, via SF] A cracker program that searches out other programs and `infects' them by embedding a copy of itself in them, so that they become Trojan horses. When these programs are executed, the embedded virus is executed too, thus propagating the `infection'. This normally happens invisibly to the user. Unlike a worm, a virus cannot infect other computers without assistance. It is propagated by vectors such as humans trading programs with their friends (see SEX). The virus may do nothing but propagate itself and then allow the program to run normally. Usually, however, after propagating silently for a while, it starts doing things like writing cute messages on the terminal or playing strange tricks with the display (some viruses include nice display hacks). Many nasty viruses, written by particularly perversely minded crackers, do irreversible damage, like nuking all the user's files.
In the 1990s, viruses have become a serious problem, especially among IBM PC and Macintosh users (the lack of security on these machines enables viruses to spread easily, even infecting the operating system). The production of special anti-virus software has become an industry, and a number of exaggerated media reports have caused outbreaks of near hysteria among users; many lusers tend to blame everything that doesn't work as they had expected on virus attacks.
Accordingly, this sense of `virus' has passed not only into techspeak but into also popular usage (where it is often incorrectly used to denote a worm or even a Trojan horse). See phage; compare back door; see also Unix conspiracy.