Virus Attack! - Angell Gallery: Toronto, Canada. 2001 ©

One man show of digital paintings at the Angell Gallery in Toronto was based on a computer virus presented in Base64 Code.
Curator: J. Angell

Materials: Photo LAMBDA prints on Kodak® silver coated archival paper.
Sizes: Between 1 to 3 metres in width & 1.5 metres in height.

Written by Kim Prusse for Angell Gallery
“For coders, computer code is a way of seeing behind an image; it is like looking at a house and seeing it in plan, elevation, and multiple projection all at the same time. It is a way of seeing dimensions not visible on the surface. There is a certain mystique in this, but there is also a certain amount of mystification for those of us unfamiliar with the world of code. This is part of the reason why Milo has spent so much time trying to make the code itself visible and aesthetic on its own terms…”
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“In this current work, Milo takes imagery and converts it into Base 64 computer code, he then isolates aspects of the code until it too becomes a provocative image. The new image is then uploaded via the internet to an FTP site (aptly called Trojan Horse) from where it is downloaded by a service bureau and printed onto archival photo material…”
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“The resulting images of digit-talk (produced through an analog photo emulsion process) beg us to narratives them even as we are distracted by their formal elegance and bathe in the surprising visual depth of simple black and white. The imagery is both basic and profound, simple yet indicative of thousands of years of human understanding. It’s found in urban graffiti, DNA, Mayan temples, nuclear physics, and of course, computer code. It is so familiar that we may not recognise it…”
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“Usually this code stuff stands for possible action, potential. Presented nakedly here before us in bits and chunks, as visual data, it loses some mystery but still evades comprehension. These are the building blocks of knowledge, not knowledge itself. But there is a story behind it, a story of tragedy observed with such scrutiny and persistence that something new and quite hauntingly beautiful emerged from the ruins…”
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“This body of work weaves through several areas of profound expertise; specialisation however can become a burden, a barrier. Milo’s task is to marry the intensity of knowledge to the effervescence of human experience while, at the same time, bringing us back to the world in which we live. What we do then is up to us.
But the shapes are so familiar, so evocative, that we lend them the power of being entities onto themselves, magical.

Kym Prusse, 2001.
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Artist’s Statement for VIRUS ATTACK; work with the Visual Genetics
Everything one sees now days in print and on Television has somehow (invisibly) gone through a digital process. Ubiquitous as this process has become, it has also helped desensitise public to its serious art-making possibilities and collecting, to the point that it has become invisible=unimportant. A commodity in a way that is actually expected to be there, wherever and whenever we look.

As an artist I have since stopped making ’obvious images’, choosing instead to explore them up close and from “inside”. At the time I wished to “turn the tables” on the virus and all the conventional images and objects that I and others have made over the last millennia, in refusing to be in front of them. As the inner workings of a clock are not merely the technology of time-telling but time itself, they decide what time it really is, while the clock-face only shows it. Therefore my role as an artist suddenly changed from being just an artist, to artist as a scientist.
R. B. Milo
Toronto, June 2001