Bocconi University
Milano, Monday May 6th 2002 at 18:00 PM  

Brand Virus

Until today any acknowledgement of the abnormal possibilities of computer viruses has been impeded by conceptual and ideological barriers, although these may very well be instruments of communication inside and outside the Net.

Even though it is an issue of unfounded opinions (it will soon be necessary to register the need for gratitude rather than for acknowledgement),it hinders the deep-rooted conviction that viruses are always and anyhow pathogenic agents and the emissaries of damage, whereas the etymon of the Latin lemma refers both to VIS (force, vigor, energy, efficiency),and to VIRESCO (to be verdant, to flower, to be vigorous).

The virus of Pliny the Elder is sap, substance, the sap and substance of life.

But the propagation of viruses does not necessarily imply mortality by contagion, indeed, the 'bocconi.vbs' virus recovers the vitality of the Latin root, inasmuchas it was conceived as the first exemplar of brandvirus. 'bocconi.vbs' is, in its genre, the most authentic and sincere application killer of viral marketing in the educational sector.

This is therefore to be considered a first test of the proactive performance of a sophisticated text like the source code of a virus, in the area of a brand communication, tailor-coder-made, one to one, edifying project. 'bocconi.vbs' constructs relations with all potential stakeholders of the Universitas and also touches the unwilling without violence.

As a classic form of "worm" based on the Microsoft Outlook© service, 'bocconi.vbs' sends itself, as an attachment, to every e-mail address available on the guest system, inviting the user to visit
'bocconi.vbs' creates a textual document (bocconi.txt) in the startup directory, and a print in ASCII characters of the Bocconi logo will be appear on the monitor at every startup of Windows©.

We do not know whether the 'bocconi.vbs' source code will be able to be utilized to become a further, decisive element in the marketing mix of Bocconi University. Although we favor the institution of a virus committee, we will leave the decisions regarding the use of such an instrument up to others, in particular to competent bodies, while urging, however, that opportune measures be adopted for its efficiency.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to open one’s eyes wide onto the 360° horizon of telecommunications, and once again look at what the Net has to offer, that is, to look without fear, which for the most part is unjustifiable and inappropriate, and to move nonchalantly in that virtual space where the majority of emotional, communicational, informative, and economic transactions flow together.

The initial shock will be overcome by the benefits that the elimination of a prejudice of this type might generate. And this will not be so much because it will bring about the return of an image to the Bocconi brand, in its use as a means of alternate communication, but above all, because of the experimental aspect and the positive relapses that it will exercise starting from its own birth.

The bocconi.vbs brandvirus will become a status virus in just a few hours’ time: not everyone will be able to boast the distinction of contagion.
The forms of collectable art continue to be based on an ancestral mechanism that forms a value, that of privation. Just as it becomes an object to be collected, taken out of the world and the vulgarity of circulation, the object loses its original function and useful value. It is deprived of it in order "to speak about its owner," and often only "to its owner." The loss or suspension of its original function and useful value are proof of the owner’s exuberant resources and the enviable possibility of keeping them unproductive.

The exact opposite happens here: there is no wish for power, but rather for temporary impotence, not for expectation but rather for surprise, there is no speech but rather a contemporary and collective coaction for silence: a virus is to a status virus like the cookies of a site of highly interactive erotic content ( are to the mailing list of Christie’s top clients.

For these reasons, singling out the Bocconi University observatory as the paradigmatic place for research on the mechanisms and laws that can generate a growth in brand values is, in a certain sense, a necessary act.

[epidemiC] crew

Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 12:35:26 -0400
From: "Bensinger, Ken" <>
To: "[epidemiC]" <>
Subject: wsj query

Hello, I'm a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and write a weekly column on the art market. I heard about your site and about the virus and am very intrigued. I'd love to find out more about your work, how long you've been doing it, and where it can be found.

I'd also be interested to know if it's collectible. I hope that's not a dumb or impertinent question. But it seems to me that these could be put on some sort of storage medium and then sold as editions or one of a kind works.

Is there any way to make contact with you for an interview for an article? I can be reached in New York at (212)***-****, or you can email me with a time and number to reach you at.


Ken Bensinger
Wall Street Journal

Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 21:04:51 +0200
From: "[epidemiC]" <>
To: Ken Bensinger <>
Subject: Re: wsj query

Hello Ken Bensinger, Epidemic has been created three months ago by people coming from heterogeneous life and work experiences: net artists, computers and communication specialists, lawers, geopolitics, psychotherapists and art critics, etc. Most of theoretical stuff is avaible at

This is not a dumb or impertinent question. All on this planet can become collectable, exept executable software binary numbers(?). virus exposed at 49°Biennale di Venezia - Slovenian Pavillion -, is a PVC 3x3 methres printed with the virus sourcecode.
It cost $25,000.

Other collectable Phisical work

1) Single piece / original artwork:
mostly made upon paper, notes, production scraps and project plans. See an example at
Estimated price $ 7,000 / 10,000

2) limited production (max 8 pieces / reproductions):
source code (or a part of it) developed by [epidemiC] or by other ones and printed on different media and size (may be PVC or even tatoo).
From $ 5,000

3) Status Virus:
developement / creation of brand new virus. the virus may have name, and technical and operating characteristic requested by the customer.
Price: as the current price of a Cadillac Eldorado (actual price).

for other inquiries pleas feel free to write to

best regards
[epidemiC] crew