Design Observer Twenty Years 2003-2023

John Thackara | Essays

Museum Hit by Love Bug [May 2002]

This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.

306,600,098,732 seconds later than first announced - but worth the wait, we hope - our new website is now online at

Thanks for all the interest in the coming conference. Here's some housekeeping info on the matter: The next Doors (theme is FLOW) will take place on 14, 15 and 16 November in Amsterdam. Registration for this conference will open in June. By subscribing to the mailinglist you'll be among the first to know when the registration has opened.

"What began, in the simultaneity of glasnost, as the utopia of the global village, has been transformed into a bleak reality of unleashed capital." It's not quite clear, from their blurb, whether our cheerful friends at Ars Electronica are talking about their own estimable festival, or AOL. Frankly, we at Doors would gladly tolerate the reality of unleashed capital - at least, if it were deposited in our bank account. Anyway, this year's Ars Electronica, the sixteenth, is on the theme, "Unplugged: Art as the Scene of Gobal Conflicts." 7-12 September in Linz, Austria.

The damage to national economies caused by the more than 60,000 computer viruses that have appeared until now cost industry and the government billions. They cost us ordinary folk a lot, too: viruses are nearly as frustrating as Microsoft Word. In the case of the "I love you" virus, the US research institute Computer Economics estimates the damage at US $8.75 billion. What are they? Where do they come from? What do viruses mean? To find out, the digitalcraft department of mak.frankfurt, directed by Franziska Nori, has produced the first exhibition on viruses in a museum context. The show includes the 30-year-old history of computer viruses and their technical development; an interactive database containing several hundred emulated viruses - made harmless; a demonstration of the effects and interesting payloads of selected viruses (payload = end result visible on the monitor after a virus contamination); visualization of the source code used for virus programmes; and so on. S! ays Nori, "particular attention is paid to the aesthetic component of the code creation."

Property, we all know, is theft - but who stole it? Since 1 April 2002, the European Commission's new Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk has been helping people find out. Their website will be fully operational by end June 2002 - otherwise contact [email protected]

Stung, no doubt, by our fearless gossip on the subject, Oxford University finally announced that William Dutton, currently Professor at The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, will be the first Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). He takes up this new role on 1 July this year when he also becomes Oxford's first Professor of Internet Studies and a Fellow of Balliol College.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts' Fifth Advance for Design Summit is all about "integrating our values, processes, and insights into the business community." And where better to do that than at the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas? Thursday, July 11 to Saturday, July 13.

Jobs | October 03