Using a C++ framework, Joseph Nechvatal and his programmer/collaborator Stéphane Sikora have brought Nechvatal’s early computer virus project (1991-2) into the realm of artificial life (A-Life), a synthetic system that exhibits behaviors characteristic of natural living systems.
In this work computer viruses are modeled to be autonomous agents living in/off “eO feerique fOrtune cOde ” – a prior Joseph Nechvatal 1.0 viral image. The 2.0 project simulates a population of active viruses functioning as an analogy of a viral biological system. The behavior of a virus is modeled as a generated looping activity that is typical of situated artificial intelligence work. A virus will pick up information from its environment, decide on a course of action, and carry it out. Viral instructions provide different possibilities for executing instructions according to the environmental conditions in which the virus is living. The results of such an attack are here preserved in the stable medium of painting as six moments in the attack, which have been selected and painted via computer-robotics onto traditional artists canvas.
Joseph Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic visual information and computer-robotics since 1986. His computer-robotic assisted paintings and computer animations are shown regularly in galleries and museums throughout the world. Dr. Nechvatal earned his Ph.D. in the philosophy of art and new technology with The Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts (CAiiA). From 1991-3 he worked as artist-in-resident at the Louis Pasteur Atelier and the Saline Royale / Ledoux Foundation’s computer lab in Arbois , France on The Computer Virus Project, an experiment with computer viruses as a creative stratagem. His work is held in the collections at the Los Angeles County Museum , the Moderna Musset in Stockholm , Sweden and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and was included in Documenta 8. He served as Parisian editor for RHIZOME INTERNET (http://www.rhizome.org) between the years 1996-2001 and now writes regularly for The THING (http://www.thing.net), NY ARTS Magazine (http://www.nyartsmagazine.com) and Zing Magazine (http://www.zingmagazine.com/). Dr. Nechvatal presently teaches ŒTheories of Virtual Reality at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He is a founder of the Tellus Audio Art Project and served as conference coordinator for the 1st International CaiiA Research Conference entitled CONSCIOUSNESS REFRAMED: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era (5 & 6 July 1997), an international conference which looked at new developments in art, science, technology and consciousness, that was held at the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University of Wales College, Newport, UK.