The last thing in the world you would usually want is a virus on your laptop, slowing everything down and generally making everything ten times more stressful.
If, like me, you’re a not the biggest techie in the world, you will live in fear of having to sort through such matters; with the prospect of talking computer jargon with experts being enough to make you crave a life in the wilderness.
However, what if a bugged up computer could be regarded as beautiful, luxurious, covetable? What if it could be considered a work of art?
Now, aside from a pretentious and misguided attempt at A-Level, I am no expert on modern art. To my uneducated eyes, the work of art entitled ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ simply looks like a dodgy laptop that needs chucking.
And that is exactly what it is. A chunky, midnight blue 10.2-inch Samsung NC10-14GB – from 2008 – riddled with a disquieting concoction of nasty viruses.
However, it is also so much more. From the mind of contemporary internet artist Guo O Dong – whose work ‘critiques modern day extremely-online culture’ – this piece apparently gives a physical nature to the underestimated threats posed by computers.
Dong told The Verge how he considers the piece to be ‘a kind of bestiary — a catalogue of historical threats’:
We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd,
Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.
Almost a million pounds for a useless laptop! Feed the homeless for goodness sake!
Persistence of Chaos: Laptop infected with world's most dangerous malware up for sale pic.twitter.com/nHZ7IOTOs2
— RantyWithoutCoffee (@NeedCoffeeNow07) May 21, 2019
The six viruses on this computer have been selected specifically for the economic havoc they have previously wreaked.
This includes WannaCry, a virus which cost the NHS tens of millions of pounds, and BlackEnergy, which was used in a 2015 cyberattack which led to a widespread blackout in Ukraine. In total, these six viruses have caused damages of approximately $95 billion.
I would personally pay a hefty sum to keep this artwork well away from my electronic possessions. However, there are apparently some eccentric – and loaded – art connoisseurs who can’t wait to add it to their collection.
‘The Persistence of Chaos’ is now up for auction, with the price to purchase already exceeding $1.2 million a the time of writing. The auction is being livestreamed via the artwork’s official website.
https://t.co/rvUOQb2w7K hosting 6 viruses/worms/trojans/malware and causing over $95B worth of damage to over a million computers including the NHS. This laptop is currently on the market for over $1 million. Scary laptop to say the least
— Gaming Reviews (@GamingReviews16) May 21, 2019
According to a scary disclaimer on the website:
The sale and dissemination of malware for commercial purposes is illegal and forbidden. You should not and undertake not to disseminate any malware included in the Work of Art in any manner. You agree not to connect the work of art to any computer Network. […]
As a condition for the transfer of the Work of Art to the winner as determined by Guo O Dong you hereby undertake and agree that you shall not use the Work of Art for any purpose other than it exhibit as a standalone product without powering it on, or, if powered on you agree not to connect it to any computer network or system, not to connect it to the internet and not to allow any third party to access any software including the malware on the Work of Art.
There’s still more than a day left to bid on this million dollar computer with malware… Honestly tho if I spent a million dollars on a computer it better be a time machine h/t @littleideahttps://t.co/vJjBdNv6Io
— jessie frazelle 👩🏼🚀 (@jessfraz) May 26, 2019
Think I’ll just stick with a nice framed poster myself, thanks…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.