This is a zoo where the inmates aren’t so friendly. For a long time around the hacker world there have been websites and other online repositories of virus, trojan and other malware code, made available for anyone who wants to see how they are put together. Cyberzoo lets you see them in action. It’s a beautiful art.
The use of the term ‘virus’ to classify those bits of computer code that have wreaked havoc for network administrators makes some sense when the similarities between them and their biological counterparts are considered. Both carry the minimum amount of ‘information’ to reproduce in the right setting, and although they can function as indifferent parasites, leaving no noticeable trace of their existence, few can be considered benevolent–while many are downright lethal–for their hosts.
Probably because of our less-than-amicable relationship with biological viruses there haven’t been many efforts to preserve their biodiversity, with the exception of various bioweapons and disease control programs, of course. Well, Argentina-based artist Gustavo Romano has created such a preserve for the computer species of virus. ‘CyberZoo,’ Romano’s web-based project, serves as an in-progress collection of the ‘wildest expressions of artificial life’ available on the internet. In essence, ‘CyberZoo’ positions itself as an effort of art conservation, accessing and cataloguing the attempts of culture to survive the death of its creators.