mosaic virus

mosaic virus by anna ridler

emap perspective #1

26 Jan

to 27 Apr

free admission

sala zero


Drawing parallels between the “tulipomania” that swept the Netherlands and the rest of Europe in the 1630s and the speculation we currently see around cryptocurrencies, Mosaic Virus is a video installation generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) that shows a tulip in bloom. Often pointed to as one of the first recorded cases of a speculative bubble, tulipmania was a phenomenon in which the price of tulip bulbs rose and fell dramatically. At their peak, they cost as much as a house in Amsterdam, before falling to the price of an onion. So there is an obvious economic and historical connection between this phenomenon and the frenzy surrounding cryptocurrencies. The title of this piece borrows its name from the disease that creates stripes on the petals of tulips, creating a beautiful flower with two or more colours. Caused by insects that lay eggs in the bulbs, this strange phenomenon means that a tulip can produce a completely white flower one year, but a heavily striped one the next. This element of chance and rarity increased desire and demand at the height of tulipomania, which helped drive the speculative buying and selling of bulbs.
In Mosaic Virus Bitcoin  behaves like the virus. Artificial intelligence analyses the fluctuating price of the cryptocurrency to control the flower’s appearance. When the price goes up, the tulips that are generated have more stripes and when it goes down, the flowers are created with a single colour.
Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with knowledge systems and how technologies are created to better understand the world. She is particularly interested in ideas related to the natural world and her creative process often involves working with collections of information or data, particularly datasets, to create new and unusual narratives.

work created in 2019 during a residency at impakt in utrecht (netherlands)



european media art platform is a project co-funded by the european union



this piece is part of the emap perspective #1 exhibition 

support portuguese republic – culture / directorate-general for the arts. rtcp – network of portuguese theatres and cinemas

Created using Figma