Comirnaty — Water for Injections
Comirnaty is the name of the well-known Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus. We made an artwork dedicated to Comirnaty. Its story is told below.
When I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I immediately inquired about its contents. First, I discovered that it had a beautiful, almost theatrical name: Comirnaty. Soon after, I read the equally poetic list of excipients
Cholesterol; Potassium chloride; Potassium dihydrogen phosphate
Sodium chloride; Disodium phosphate dihydrate; Sucrose
Water for injections
So I thought of staging these characters, so indecipherable. After all, we know exactly what we will be injected with (comirnaty), but we don’t know what effect it will have on our very personal immune system (c̶o̶m̵i̶r̷n̶a̴t̴y̵). We can only take a leap of faith in science, the same as we can in regard to religion.
I immediately imagined that glitch art was the way to go. The first step was to glitch the text of the excipients using the Processing programming language, which I use for most of my generative art.
I then involved Domenico Barra to continue, with more mastery, on this road. Domenico took care of glitching the video part, here is a testimony of his work.
Fascinated by the concept of mutation, perceived by the crowd as a possible, predictable, inescapable, undeniable event that could eventually, very probably, surely, undoubtedly occur and caused by the long term effect of the vaccine on our genome, the glitch becomes then an overly exaggerated reference of this predicted, acclaimed and misconceived event.
Generating panic, chaos, creating a complex, almost impossible to understand reading of the excipients, their use, order and function, and so of the true nature of the vaccines, the glitch is also the noise caused by the crowd altering information triggering a general state of confusion.
The frames generatively composed by hex6c were then assembled in a sequence and animated in a .gif format. The data of the .gif were then interpreted as hexadecimal values and altered by substituting some of those data with other random and erroneous data not peculiar to the .gif format standard, forcing the software into executing an improper operation and manifesting a glitch. This process was repeated a numerous of times creating many gifs. The gifs were then aligned on a timeline, exported and rendered as .mp4 video with a H264 codec.
Finally I thought of giving voice to these mysterious characters. I liked to think of a poetic/robotic recitation of this hermetic text. Ilaria Boffa took care of the voice and sound manipulation parts masterfully.
Here is the outcome of this interesting collaboration with Domenico and Ilaria.
We thought that the Hic et Nunc gallery, with its purely cypherpunk style, was the most suitable to host this work. We decided to set the price of the artwork to that of a dose of comirnaty vaccine for the European market at the time of writing (end of August 2021): €19.50 ($23.15).