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GALLERY 2010/2011


Damnatio Memoriae


Description of campaign/project

Beyound critical writing and visual practise, this work is a software that analyzes images by itself and changes it based on face recognition patterns. This conceptual-virus, once opened, appends a black stripe on the mouth or eyes of every face found on each .jpeg of user's computer memory. It doesn't spread itself on other computers, only infects peoples memory - their photos - with the censorship symbol.

This new communication approach, beyond Good and Evil, makes a surprise to the user. The infected user open some photos (maybe days after running the virus without knowing about that) and see all censored faces. Wow! Who did it? When? Why? People are not used to intelligent viruses which changes images. It gives more questions than answers and let them thinking.

Radical communication thought cyberspace memories.

In our age, government censorship is becoming more and more used to control information and power maintanance. People can't read this or talk about that. This censorship-infection shows the user familiar people virtually censored by something that they even don't know what is.

Stimulate this debate is the main focus of the Damnatio Memoriae Virus, bringing power back to the people.

People are not used to read, or listen, with full attention, until we talk about them or what they are thinking. Use familiar faces from user's memory to express propositions is far away better than horny models. Questions are better than answers and imagination is more powerful than knowledge.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This conceptual virus is small but mighty! I love artistic virus in general (see also e.g. http://www.0100101110101101.org/home/biennale_py) because it´s a bit like "If I can't dance, it's not my revolution!" - hacking the system but with fun and art, please... This software deals with important issues like identity, censorship, private data, manipulation and reality. And I really like the idea that my computer helps me to stay anonymous... Only problem: As an .exe it´s quite difficult that people will really download and open it - and I think another twist that could also be really interesting is, not infect the pictures on my computer, but infect pictures on social networks like Facebook etc. (see e.g. http://www.face-to-facebook.net/) For me this concept is really charming and has a lot of beauty in its destructive side...

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Entry details


Damnatio Memoriae


a conceptual-virus that appends a black stripe over user's photos

Concept author(s)

Rafael Polo

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

computer scientist, software writer, cyberspace theorist.



Competition category


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

As a software-writer mastering in semantic web and reasoning, collaborative platforms developer, I was the first wikileaks mirror on Brazil. Leading Anonymous Operations on cyberespace, now I'm recontextualizing activist artificial intelligence on viruses.