The "us" in virus


The "us" in virus is an intervention in public space and a public intervention in private space. I used stickers with the opening line from Facebook's homepage "Facebook helps you share and connect with the people in your life", and substituted H1N1 with Facebook. These stickers were placed on places where people are in direct contact with objects in public space, therefore with other people, therefore subjected to infection, how it was commonly referred to in media. The virus becomes an unusual grotesque network boosted by the existence of social networks.

At the beginning of 2009, a H1N1 strain from the swine influenza virus started spreading throughout the world, and together with it, panic of infection rose. The virus itself hadn’t shown dramatically greater numbers of victims in comparison to the regular seasonal flue, to which it also resembles in symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish them both, causing further uncertainty and panic among people.

“Of course it’s wonderful how quickly information can be communicated these days. The problem lies in evaluating that information. The media or individuals publishing on the Internet can make mistakes, panic themselves, and infect other people. And this spreads much more quickly than the swine flu”

The more it is well spread, present, mutating, and becoming THE virus (forming a strong structure-image) the more different reactions are born, mutating. What made this virus so dangerous and controversial? Whether out of fear of another plague, or remembrance of some deadly predecessors –the Spanish flu,the pandemic of 2009 became a media monster, memeticaly infecting with theories of conspiracy and irrational behaviour. As Wendy Chun argues, the paranoid mind has an answer for everything (Chun, 2006). But also the paranoid mind must have resources for consuming paranoia. In the vastness of blogospheres and social networks was a fertile ground for spreading the disease of the disease. In that case we are explicitly dealing with the reality of the virtual, where the virtual belief becomes the true reality, influencing our experience of the everyday.

The objects tagged (infected) in this project are objects shared among people in our everyday, tracing our tactical networks.
The infection has spread so far in Brussels and Rotterdam, with a tendency to grow.


Photos by Maja Medić