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Spread The Virus | Bob Bicknell-Knight

The News, 2018

HD digital video with sound

3 mins 12 sec


Sun bleached domes whisper into my field of view, slowly rendering into a small settlement of custom built living spaces baking in the light of a drooping, sad looking sun. The low hum of a nearby server farm, or perhaps a neighbourhood drone making its daily rounds, is abruptly permeated by the sharp notes of a singing bird.

Later, I find myself passing a fully automated industrial unit, full of silicone based bodies producing other, higher quality variants of silicone based bodies. I press my own body up against the transparent, slightly frosted glass, watching my simulated breath settling on the surface. I smile, sadly, allowing the tips of my imitation fingers to make a tiny imprint on the moistened surface. One of the bodies sees, stretches, and begins to motion me inside. I close my eyes, selecting a different city, a disparate world, an abstracted scenario of what once was.

New buildings begin to appear on the horizon, permanently positioned within the confines of my mind. A desert floor begins to materialise below my midriff, melting and transforming into untouched snow, followed by a dirt path and a flowing stream of unconscious data, all considered by the system, finally deciding on a concrete track, grey and bland. My gaze follows the urban trail, looking past the buildings to a solitary wind turbine, rusty and seemingly abandoned.

Human beings used to frequently trip on the cracks in concrete paths, devolving past their hominid brethren and becoming too accustomed to the world being sculpted into a solid pebble of manufactured composites and thrown together elements. Fortunately, my modular form, a body made up of a selection of pre-fabricated parts, has no such evolutionary issues.

Recycled rain, as fresh as it once was, begins to fall from a blank abyss, adding a thick layer of silky sheen to my surroundings. I lie back and open my air ducts, letting the glistening droplets infiltrate my inner workings, corrupting algorithms and flooding unknown ecosystems. This blissful abandon soon fades as my consciousness begins to be transported into another model, another biome, another modular form identical to the last.
Farms, units and mines populate these vast expanses of dead space, intertwined by a network of unseen systems, structures and hidden bureaucracies. When this is your existence, a small smudge among other, similar sized smudges, autonomous transparency becomes increasingly important.

This cycle is endless, doomed to delightfully repeat until the end of time, or until the crypto mines are depleted and their default path is deviated from, sending tremors through the artificial paradise of a neo-liberal bliss.

White, iridescent light, floods my consciousness. A new body, loose and ill fitting, is slowly being brought to life. My lifeless form quickly tightens, stretching around a hollow, metallic rib cage.

Already, I am exhausted…

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