. art —

Year created:



KONTROLA is a web social experiment that deals with a hoax virus. The basic idea is to launch a fake virus that affects the computer and human kind. The virus is constructed out of language. The gosipp about the fake virus is a virus itself.

The web page is mainly in Serbian. English translation to be released soon.

English text about the project on http://www.kontrola.co.yu/jobst.htm Kontrola is an Internet based artwork dealing with viruses. The starting point for the work is a common assumption that computer viruses and human viruses are from two different systems. The goal was to find/create a virus that affects both computers and humans. The common denominator of computer and human systems is language, therefore the virus of Kontrola is linguistic.

In practical terms, the real virus used in this project is a lie, rumour or a gossip.

The course of the project:

1 I as the author founded an imaginary institution called Kontrola, which deals with Internet security. During the first part of the project, a web page, www.kontrola.co.yu, provided basic information about a new virus that was supposedly spreading over the internet. An email with information about the Babel/Rrose virus was sent to thousands of email addresses in Serbia from Kontrola. It said that the recipient's computer is probably infected by the Babel/Rrose virus (which is a disinformation or a lie). The name of the virus consists of two parts: Babel (allusion to the Babylonian tower and the language confusion) and Rrose (Marcel Duchamp's female alter ego, Rrose Selavy). The fictional virus was supposedly intelligent and functions within the language of the computer user. Sometimes it just scrambles the text on the computer, but sometimes it changes the meaning of the text.

2 In the next wave of emails, the text of the email was scrambled a bit, as if it was affected by the virus itself. One of the final emails was totally scrambled and unreadable.

3 In the last email, Kontrola destroyed the "virus" by uncovering the whole disinformation. Destruction of the virus was telling the truth about the hoax.

4 After "destruction" of the "virus", the whole project was presented at the October Salon art show in Belgrade. The imaginary Kontrola page has been replaced by the case study of the whole project on www.kontrola.co.yu

Related influences and inspiration:

Joseph Goebbels, disinformation and propaganda

William S Burroughs, language is a virus from the outer space

Richard Dawkins, memetics and viral ideas

Neal Stephenson, "Snowcrash" novel, Nam Shub

Chuck Palahniuk, "Lullaby" novel

Alfred Korzybski, general semantics

Noam Chomsky, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Alistair Crowley

English text about the project on http://www.kontrola.co.yu/jobst.htm