**UPDATE, 10.4.2014: This essay was just included in Karen Archey’s “The Cyborg and the Moon: Notes on Science Fiction,” an online exhibition at the Museum of Post Digital Cultures. Many thanks to artist Yuri Pattison for submitting the essay. Karen Archey is an art critic I really dig, and she is the fourth guest curator of the museum. Great honor! Screenshot of front page at bottom of post.
Data barns loom like sublime cities in the desert, each housing a hundred trillion indexed points. We circle the colossus, dwarfed, drawn in by the mirrored candescence of inexhaustible machines performing calculations at a rate beyond imagination. Within, stacks of data, their lifetimes transient yet precisely accounted, pile furiously, and yet the machines continue to tame them. We suspect their mastery hints at our own latent capacities: for greater comprehension, for control.
Consumed as we are by the sensorial abundance of a world rendered into data, the ritual practice of taking inventory is our means of turning pattern, volume, and complexity into meaning. We recombine, sort, archive, as a means of control. The artist works as ingenious technician, performing in direct conversation with cybernetics. Inventory is the paradigm by which we understand the consumption of handled material – from dock shipments to DNA samples, from street maps to digital audio files.
In 2003, the Blaster Worm was a formidable security breach. A blended threat, rolling bad code into elements of various viruses and worms, it moved swift and ruthless across four hundred thousand Microsoft computers within two weeks.
For his record Blaster, released last month on the Berlin-based label PAN, artist James Hoff used the Blaster computer virus to warp beats from the 808 drum machine into a fungal aural mass.