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Viral Design

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

Viral Design


“Viral design” has been used by artists and community developers as a way to approach and subvert dominant cultural paradigms. Wikipedia describes the concept:

“Viral phenomena are objects or patterns able to replicate themselves or convert other objects into copies of themselves when these objects are exposed to them. The concept of something, other than a biological virus, being viral came into vogue just after the Internet became widely popular in the mid to late 1990s. An object, even a non-material object, is considered to be viral when it has the ability to spread copies of itself or change other similar objects to become more like itself when those objects are simply exposed to the viral object. This has become a common way to describe how thoughts, information and trends move into and through a human population.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_phenomenon


Mel Chin


“Employing art as insertionary idea within a social realm, Mel Chin compares his social artworks and their hosting organizations as a virus existing in creative and symbiotic relationship with the host-body. Mel revels in the analogy and multidimensional play of this relationship across fields as diverse as land reclamation, urban renewal, the virtual culture of video games depicting vanishing tribal culture, the TV soap opera Melrose Place, and the new San Jose Library.”


“Art as Creative Virus and Host in the work of Mel Chin”

by Glen Sparer: http://switch.sjsu.edu/v7n1/articles/glen02.html


Chin asks “What will be the effect of this work in 20 years? Where will these ideas show up? What is successful?” (Victoria International Arts Symposium, 2006).


In 1995, Chin and a group called the GALA Committee regularly inserted art into the TV soap opera “Melrose Place” (with the enthusiastic support of the show’s producers).




(See clip from the show at http://www.cftnm.ucsb.edu/mpart/art/food/food_cap.html)


These Chinese takeout boxes and paper bags are a good example of the many pieces GALA made for the future international audiences of Melrose Place. When viewers in China watch the show, beamed down to them by Rupert Murdoch's satellites, they will see the actors carrying posters (or are they just takeout bags?) with messages about some of the most contentious and censored issues in their country. It is currently not legal to draw the characters for "Human Rights" in China.


The project is documented on http://www.cftnm.ucsb.edu/mpart/



Critical Mass


Critical Mass is a leaderless movement in which bicyclists around the world take to the streets en masse, so that, for the space of the demonstration, they own the road. Critical Mass is an interrogation of the status quo and a celebration of social alternatives. The movement employs a “viral design” inasmuch as events inspire a multiplying series of similar events.


The website at www.critical-mass.org begins with a disclaimer: “The ".org" domain notwithstanding, Critical Mass is not an organization, it's an unorganized coincidence. It's a movement ... of bicycles, in the streets. Accordingly, this isn't the official Critical Mass web page, because there is no official Critical Mass web page. There are, however, a bunch of unofficial web pages.”


“Ultimately, Critical Mass is just a bunch of cyclists riding around together, going from one point to another. (Someone coined the descriptive phrase "organized coincidence.") But the incredible thing is that, in attempting this simple task, so many important and interesting questions come up. Why is there so little open space in our cities where people can relax and interact, free from the incessant buying and selling of ordinary life? Why are people compelled to organize their lives around having a car? What would an alternative future look like?” http://www.scorcher.org/cmhistory/howto.html



Call for art to support Critical Mass: http://visualresistance.org/wordpress/criticalmass

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