Nueral review of Destroyer of Naivetés

Review by Aurelio Cianciotta in Nueral of Destroyer of Naivetés by Cave Bacchus: Joseph Nechvatal, Black Sifichi, Rhys Chatham

Joseph Nechvatal is a post-conceptual artist and also an art theorist. He usually creates unusual paintings and computer animations with the recurring use of computer viruses designed for these purposes. The lyrics of Destroyer of Naivetés: Computer Virus 1.0 have the shape of a muffled and passionate narration. It walks on a carpet of drones and sound overlaps of improvisatory origin, not far from some experimental and evocative jazz modulations. The sound background later evolves into sweeter and minimal breaks, some simple guitar chords. However, the voice always keeps a psalmody tone and some dissolute utterances inspire the lyrics. The work is reminiscent of erotic literature, but actually the main themes are the same as seven historical paintings by the author. The works date to 1993 and were part of HyperCard Computer Virus Project, a work where the AIDS virus epidemic and the increasing and predictable concern about the exponential growth of computer viruses were connected. The hacker culture unconscious and the background of these actions are still current for the audience even after 25 years; think of the huge success of the series Mr Robot. On the other hand, we hope that some artistic-philosophical waves inspired by Borrough (viral invasion) and Baudrillaud (international terrorism) might again create some relevant works following these steps. Joseph Nechvatal reminds us that “the virus is also the basis of a creative process” and creates some beauty and interest from the point of view of art history. Probably now this vision translated into an overlap of music and lyrics is an out of time action, with words replaced by automated procedures, which are complex and socially difficult to control. The final effect of the work is anyhow charming and brings us back to a tradition of experimental music and text, which we had lost track of.


About josephnechvatal

Since 1986 Joseph Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics. His computer-robotic assisted paintings and computer software animations are shown regularly in galleries and museums throughout the world. From 1991-1993 he worked as artist-in-resident at the Louis Pasteur Atelier and the Saline Royale / Ledoux Foundation’s computer lab in Arbois, France on The Computer Virus Project: an experiment with computer viruses as a creative stratagem. In 2002 he extended that artistic research into the field of viral artificial life through his collaboration with the programmer Stéphane Sikora. Dr. Nechvatal earned his Ph.D. in the philosophy of art and new technology at The Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts (CAiiA) University of Wales College, Newport, UK and occasionally teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City (SVA). His book of essays “Towards an Immersive Intelligence: Essays on the Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality (1993-2006)” was published by Edgewise Press in 2009. In 2011 his book “Immersion Into Noise” was published by the University of Michigan Library’s Scholarly Publishing Office in conjunction with Open Humanities Press You can follow him on Twitter at @twinkletwink Homepage here:
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