Internet Artist, Guo O Dong is auctioning off his most recent piece called “The Persistence of Chaos”. This art piece is a laptop that has 6 of the world’s most dangerous viruses on it. Never thought a piece of art could bring harm to you? Think again… Well this piece of art won’t cause harm unless you connect it to your Wi-Fi or plug it in a USB.
The artist explains to The Verge that he created this piece because he wanted to create a physical representation of the abstract threats and dangers that the digital world brings.
Guo quotes, “We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd.” He continues on, “Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.”
The viruses Guo picked were based off of the economic catastrophe they caused. One is the computer virus from the 2000s called the ILOVEYOU virus which was spread through emails as appearing as a love letter. WannaCry is another one on the laptop, which shutdown computers in hospitals and factories all around the world in 2017.
Guy explains how WannaCry is an example of how digital viruses can create physical harm, “WannaCry … caused the [UK’s National Health Service] the equivalent of $100 million in damages and led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of doctors’ appointments.” He said it would be hard to exactly pinpoint the harm of each patient, but it definitely caused human harm.
The dangerous malware on this laptop are just from past attacks, there are many more that are out there today, like in the city of Baltimore this month an attack caused government systems to freeze and disrupted estate sales, water bills, health alerts.
Guo estimates that between all of the viruses on this laptop the economic damage comes out to be around $95 billion. DeepInstinct, a cybersecurity firm, is currently auctioning this piece of art online. It’s current price is a little above $1.2 million. Guo describes this laptop as “a kind of bestiary — a catalogue of historical threats.”