Malware makes an exhibition of itself

Malware makes an exhibition of itself

If you happen to be in the Netherlands in the next few months you may be interested in dropping into an unusual art exhibition.

From Friday 5 July until 10 November, you’ll be able to check out “Malware: Symptoms of Viral Infection” at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

According to the blurb, the exhibition, curated by Bas van de Poel and Marina Otero Verzier, “focuses on the most infamous examples of computer viruses. These form the starting point for an exploration of questions of security, warfare and geopolitics in times of rapid technological advance.”

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“The computer virus started out as an innocent joke played by nerds, but has now become a digital weapon of geopolitical impact. The design practice behind viruses often remains hidden, but in this exhibition this is brought into the open. Emulation software, archival material and artistic interpretations represent different moments in the transition from playful hobby to factor of radical international influence. The paradox of the ‘beauty’ and complexity of these types of technology is one of the factors revealed: the smarter the design of how a virus is made, the more devastating its potential consequences.”

You can find more information on the exhibition’s website, but try not to be too freaked out when you click the link.

From the look of things, there are plenty of readers of this website who would find the exhibition intriguing – and perhaps get a kick out of some of the malware nostalgia on offer.

I, for one, long for the old days when viruses were more of a visual art form than they are today.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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