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Detecting airborne viruses in the art world

Initially this is a piece about biological surveillance and the business of fear. However, in a gallery setting it can take on other meanings, "such as the viral nature of memes, and the capacity of visual art to transmit memes. Furthermore, it suggests the notion that an art institution can be so ineffective, so wholly devoted to the obsolete, that one would need a special high-tech detector to tell if anything serious or substantial is going on there."

Bill Gusky, Artblogcomments

This piece shows the occurrence of airborne Rhinovirus (common cold) particles in the gallery environment. It visualizes what would be live data from advanced sensors capable of detecting airborne viruses. The spectator is confronted with the idea that they are being registered not by what they say or do, but by what they involuntarily carry in their bodies.

These devices register and feed data to the database to create, in real time, a relationship between the number of visitors and the amount of viruses that are visualized on the screen. These types of counting devices are typically used to calculate transaction/traffic = conversion ratios that are most commonly used for improving selling and merchandising. For the purposes of this project however, it is used for improving the capacity to facilitate user-generated fear. Of course in a world where doomsday scenarios double as marketing pitches these don't seem so far removed.