Vol. 2 No. 1 (2011): Virus

Excursions Issue 2.1: "Virus"

In the contemporary world, notions of the viral are infused, as was impossible in a pre-globalised time, with connotations both positive and negative. Even as the AIDS pandemic, caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, continues to rage worldwide, marketeers use the same terminology of infection when they speak of their success; they have “gone viral”. Meanwhile, on the software front, a campaign of “biological/viral warfare” has reached the next stage of its analogy with (allegedly) state-sponsored malware, such as the Stuxnet worm, attacking industrial and nuclear facilities with hitherto unprecedented levels of sophistication. From this slim set of examples, a host of possibilities arise. Where does the virus sit in the realm of aesthetics? What could be the political side of the viral? Is such a terminological analogy ethically appropriate?

Published: 2011-06-01