The metaphor of pharmakon proposed by Derrida is gaining more and more significance as the majority of our experiences become mediated via electronic, symbolic devices. The Greek word pharmakon carries a double meaning: it is both “medicine” and “poison”. Derrida extends this dichotomy to “text”, specifically written text, which both preserves a trail of the author’s experience and simultaneously falsifies it. A written story gains the meaning of its own from the set of its internal semiotic tensions and the content brought in by the interpretation of the reader.
The electronic media armed with softwares and interfaces, suffer from the same duality. On one hand they simplify the important functions of our existence (communication, production, organization), on the other they inevitably pre-structure the nature of these functions and channel our capacities into algorithmic models. The quality of experience becomes dependant on the shared tools of communication.
Anti-pharmakon is an attempt of sabotaging and displacing the familiar context of software/interface. “Torcito Portraits” are digital animations based on re-purposing an old Macintosh musical software Virtual Drummer. “Anti-pharmakon” is a simple, interactive installation composed of a treated computer keyboard, CPU and a wall projection. The third piece is a photo-etched metal plate displaying a recognizable software interface.