The Viral Knitting Project is an (ongoing) collaboration with Kirsty Robertson, Matt Soar(video), Max Haiven (sound), and countless knitters. The project grew out of a desire to bring together the viral communication possibilities of the internet with the anti-war movement and Revolutionary Knitting Circles. The collaboration between art historians, communications scholars, activists and artists resulted in a project that took the binary code of the Code Red Virus, a virulent computer virus that exploits a bug in the indexing system of Microsoft Windows, and turned it into a knitting pattern. The binary code, made up of zeros and ones, was easily translated into the P(purl) and K(knit) stitches of knitting patterns. Once knitted, the virus became a scarf, something that was comforting, giftable, but intrinsically dangerous – a latent virus that could be easily transported over borders, into restricted areas, across threatened territories. In turn, because it was a virus, we hoped that the pattern/idea would spread, that people would pick up on the viral pattern and begin to knit it, or would take the idea and translate it to other codes.
The Viral Knitting Project started at the “Information Poetics and Politics: the work of the local in the age of globalization Summer Institute”: August 3-11, 2004, Queen’s University Kingston (ON)
Buiani, R. “Unravelling the Skein: of Viruses and Knitting as Activist Practice” Public, Issue 31, special issue Digital Poetics and Politics
Robertson, K.“The Viral Knitting Project and Writing on the Wool.” N.paradoxa (Activist Art) 23 (January 2009), pp. 56-61