“DESCENT” is a downloadable, digital artwork that’s inspired by both Bruegel and the Black Death.
When you launch the “DESCENT” .exe file on your desktop, a malware invasion of rats begins. At first only a few appear as ominous “RAT” image files. Then, as the glitchy static grows more intense, with a bouncing movement reminiscent of pestilent fleas, the steeple of a church emerges from the pixelated forms. Soon the rats become a plague. The human figures wandering the strange, fluctuating landscape undergo a cycle of life and death.
The digital artwork was created by artist Peter Burr and programmer Mark Fingerhut, with music by Forma. While the PC program is available for free download through the internet-based collective Undervolt & Co., you can also view “DESCENT” in the video below, which was published on Vimeo last month and recently shared on Prosthetic Knowledge. Watching at full screen is recommended for a simulation of the desktop experience.