Joseph Nechvatal


Joseph Nechvatal, black attack: the eternal return, 2002 ©

176 MB 6.27 min. audio-visual viral attack quicktime movie (mac)
C++ viral programming by Stéphane Sikora
Courtesy of Music2eye and Galerie Mabel Semmler (Paris)

black attack: eternal return is a 176 MB 6.27 min. audio-visual viral attack quicktime movie looped and played at full screen captured from a viral attack from Joseph Nechvatal’s Computer Virus Project 2.0 project. Nechvatal’s Computer Virus Project 2.0 follows along the same lines as previous viral works by Nechvatal in 1992 - works where an unpredictable progressive virus operates on a degradation/transformation of an image. Using a C++ framework, Joseph Nechvatal and his programmer Stéphane Sikora have brought Nechvatal’s early computer virus project into the realm of artificial life (A-Life) (i.e. into a synthetic system that exhibits behaviors characteristic of natural living systems). With Computer Virus Project 2.0, elements of artificial life have been introduced in that viruses are modeled to be autonomous agents living in/off the image. The project simulates a population of active viruses functioning as an analogy of a viral biological system. A genome-program changes with a mutation operator. Every cycle produces a change in the energy level of the virus. The virus will lose a set amount of energy with every run, and when it runs out of energy, it dies (i.e. it disappears) – here only to return again in an endless repetition - the eternal return.