We form a rhizome with our viruses, or rather, our viruses make us form a
rhizome with other creatures.
-Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, On The Line
William Burroughs said that sexual desire is like a virus that is always on the hunt for a new host -- a virus that almost always infects new technology first. In response to this idea, I developed in 1992-3 (when I was Louis Pasteur artist-in-resident at Arbois, France; Louis Pasteur's home town) a method for creating viral computer-robotic assisted paintings which stem from a computer virus program. This computer program was written on Hyper-card in Basic with the assistance of Prof. Jean-Philippe Massonie of Laboratoire MIS, Université de Franche-Comté, France.
The resulting viral computer-robotic paintings try to expand upon the present aesthetic and technical limits of computer-technology by combining technological and aesthetic elements in a new, viral way. These viral infected computer-robotic assisted paintings focus on an interface between the viral virtual and the viral actual (i.e., the viral viractual) - an alterity which couples the biological with the technological. Hence, my computer-robotic assisted viral paintings strive for a depiction of an anti-essentiality of the body-in-bits which allows no privileged logos, but insists, rather, on a displacement or deferral of meaning. Images of the flesh are undone by viral disturbances they cannot contain - even as I identify the body as central in a matrix of possibilities.
The basic premise behind my viral computer-robotic assisted paintings is the rhizomatic exploration of host/parasite omnijectivity (the metaphysical concept stemming from the discoveries of quantum physics which teaches us that mind (previously considered the subjective realm) and matter (previously considered as the objective realm) are inextricably linked) under the influence of today's high-frequency, electronic, computerized environment. Moreover, host/parasite viral encounters with the codes of computer simulation create the ribald opportunity for transgression of conventional limitations. In the viral rupture, thought detaches itself from the host/parasite order and authority of the old sign and topples down into the realm of the viral viractual. This viral viractuality is the most erudite, the most aware, the most conscious, and the most cluttered area of our consciousness as it is the depth from which we beings emerged as child parasites into our now precarious existence.
Though my viral work is certainly heading for presentation in the classical virtual reality hardware/eyeware - where immersion is total and where the viewer/user is free to navigate his or her way through the deep perceptual space which my art suggests - I plan also to continue the presentation of silent, still viral images robotically painted on canvas for certain very obvious reasons: contemplation possibilities offered to the viewer, the beauty of natural light, the suggested (therefore more actively imagined) viral immersion by use of large scale dimensions, plus issues of permanency and warmth. I very much like to work with the viral digital image as immaterial abstract information (pixels) and I like very much the world wide transportable dimension of the Internet, where the digital data-stream travels at the speed of light. But I also like to see a large-scaled iconic viral image just sitting still on a canvas so I can silently reflect on it and mentally move within the work in natural light at my leisure with customary unrestrictions to my bodily movements. In this respect the viral painting's unique distinction is much less in what painting does or attempts, but in how it does it.
One of the things that painting does pretty well is present viral viractual imagery that lingers for contemplation. Painting can present mutually exclusive conditions at the same time. If computer animation can be compared to a reel of tape, then painting can be compared to random access memory. That all the simultaneous viral information is available all the time is something that viral painting has going for it. Too often we concentrate on this still quality as a weakness and make futile attempts to bring the element of time into an art form that is strongest when presenting a timeless and simultaneous image.
On the other hand, computers, I find, can give more significance to trial-and-error than simple freedom of choice do to their incredible speed. As such, they can draw correspondences with the creative patterns of consciousness. Consequently, they can blow stale imagination away.
This has been my experience at least.
The traces and lines you see in my viral works show inter-coded
relationships between seemingly disparate systems of thought that have now
been recombined into a working body of viractual erudition under the sign of
viral technology. In the rising and collapsing of alternative visualizations
and unordered viral revelations, the circuits of the mind find an occupation
congruent with my viral art's immanent viractual structure.