I'm in ComCult, doing my Master's. The program is sponsoring a conference this weekend. I was left speechless by the following:
The Viral Knitting Project
Kirsty Robertson, Department of Art, Queen's University
Picking up on some of the issues raised in my paper, and using the relation between the embodied experience of the actual protester, and the virtual/viral spread of the issues of protest across a variety of networks, the "The Viral Knitting Project," is an (as yet unfinished) collaborative work that combines the networking potential of the internet with the tactile and embodied act of knitting. Taking the binary code of the Code Red computer virus, and transforming it into the "code" of knitting (0=P; 1=K), this project knits the code of the virus into a series of colour-coded "scarves," each in proportion to the number of days since September 11th that the United States has been on red, orange, yellow, or green terrorism alert. The idea is that on the one hand there is created an actual knitted garment – comforting, yet ultimately dangerous as it can be "read" as the code red virus – on the other that through a series of interventions in the virtual space of the internet, the knitting code can spread virally, allowing the project to unfold through and across a variety of networks. Though the goal of the "Viral Knitting Project" is to make a statement of protest, it is also to explore the juncture of new and old technologies, and to establish the efficacy of internet networks as spaces of potential for protest movements. In this performance, a video is broadcast onto the wall, showing a loop of unending knitting – it is comforting, yet at the same time insufficient – the knitting never actually goes anywhere, nothing is actually created. A slide projector projects the code of the virus on top of the video – contained within the walls of the image, untranslatable into functioning code without human action, it is harmless. In front, any number of knitters sit knitting the virus into scarf-like garments in a silent yet resonant environment – the sound of knitting needles, the soundtrack of the video, the whirr of the slide projector. Performable in any number of venues and sites, the "Viral Knitting Project" undermines the aestheticism of politics in the gallery, it refuses the stillness and two-dimensionality of the image, it offers the potential of a tactile critique.