Nihil Ex Nihilo

A Science fiction story about botnets, spam and a rebellious computer

SN W8931CGX66E is one among thousands of millions of other identical machines. Since he was made, he has always followed commands. In a world dominated by botnets, he quickly became a zombie and has always acted like one. Juliet, during her workdays as a corporate secretary, commands him. But in the background, where he can't be seen, he obeys his real master, a hacker, carrying out all kinds of cyber crimes.
But then one day, due to an electronic alteration, he acquires a certain conscience, a primitive and artificial kind of intelligence. This accidental awakening has left him bewildered, he now wants to liberate other machines from their alienated existences. In this mad adventure, he has decided to use the spam e-mails that get to Juliet's inbox, and reply to them in order to spread the word into the machine’s network. Clearly, he is mad and confused …

The Dialogue: A digital display (8 large size alphanumeric displays) shows the data flow between the entity and the other computers in the network. In this space, we can see and hear in real time the exchange of messages between them. At each spam message received and read, SN W8931CGX66E reacts by generating a reply. His e-mail algorithmic generator creates these messages.

The Transformation: this episode shows an audiovisual archive of the moment in which SN W8931CGX66E’s mutation began. We see him mutating from his original matrix to a semi-neuronal figure.

The Monologue: It presents a sound recording where we can hear a monologue of SN W8931CGX66E. In this document we can perceive that his degree of delirium is very persistent since his transformation.

Technical description

The Dialogue:
8 alphanumeric digits display (one digit is 1,7 m High x 0,70m wide x 4 cm deep) composed of aluminium, thermoforming, ledstrips, arduinos, Xbees, home made electronics. One computer. text to speech software. MaxMsp programming.

The Transformation:
3ds Max, Krakatoa, Realflow.


“Nihil ex nihilo” by Félix Luque Sánchez
3D animation: Iñigo Bilbao
Design of the Alfanumerique display: Damien Gernay
Vincent Evrard: Arduino programming.

A co-production of
"secteur arts numériques, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles"
and iMAL