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which users can choose from or add to, and by giving people the opportunity to submit ‹found› pieces of software to the database, the definition of software art is stretched to the extreme, giving RunMe the feel of being an art project in itself. Shulgin and Goriunova explain it like this: «Art naturally resists classification, but is nevertheless always classified and labeled when presented at, for example, exhibitions and festivals. By using the familiar interface of an online software database, could play with the idea of storing, classifying, labeling, collecting, while at the same time taking advantage of the democratic possibilities of open databases.» [34] It seems that with RunMe almost all the practices of art institutions have been made accessible to the public, be it the selecting, criticizing or archiving of works.

ReadMe and RunMe do not just reveal and offer software art as a new art form in the public domain; they also change the art context to fit with the nature of these works. In some ways these two projects have turned into institutions of sorts themselves, institutions of the most flexible kind for the Public Domain 2.0.


Virus as intervention: Forkbomb

Italian ‹rastacoder›, programmer and artist Jaromil started doing specific art projects in 2002. Before that he was mainly known as a programmer and curator. He was, for instance, co-curator of the exhibition of computer viruses ‹I Love You› in Frankfurt in 2002 and has covered almost the entire spectrum of writing, from novels to software. The most simple looking text or piece of code he ever wrote was a computer virus for the UNIX system, a so called forkbomb, which is a piece of code that keeps replicating itself until it overloads and crashes the machine it is running on. Florian Cramer, software art critic and part of the jury of Transmediale in Berlin and the ReadMe software art initiative, called it «the most elegant forkbomb ever written.» [35] What I find most interesting about this work is not that it can crash a computer or that its appearance (which looks like some ASCII smilies crushed into each other :(){ :|:& };: ) is of such elegant simplicity. This work is interesting because of its context and the intentions of its author. Jaromil himself writes: «I am depicting viruses as poésie maudite, giambi against those selling the Net as a safe

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