Graphic variations are endless, yet all mutations share the same structural pattern, its design based on microscopic photographs of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The resulting pictograms form a new language, a new system of symbols, which can be used and interpreted in various ways. One of the goals: to develop sensibility, a kind of aesthetic understanding, towards the complex biological, climatic and material systems that determine – and will continue to determine – the 21st century.

How to use these glyphs? A concrete example is the interactive typographic piece, which uses this system to display the letter »o« – the only visual difference between the terms »neoliberal« and »illiberal« in Serbian (»neoliberalni« vs. »neliberalni«) – as a biological cell infected with a virus. Created as part of my workshops and academic courses this year, the piece was inspired by the essay Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism? (Jodi Dean, LARB), which we analyzed together in classes.

There is also a generator of new symbols, which allows you to create your own shapes modeled on a common pattern. Dragging the mouse over the image changes the parameters, and by clicking on the image you can save it as a PNG file:

The software is written in p5.js, a JavaScript library for non-programmers, artists, writers and designers. The 2020 mutation code is uploaded on my GitHub and in my public database of p5.js sketches, free and openly licensed (GNU General Public License v3.0), for anyone who would like to use it in their educational and design projects.

So far, 2020 mutations have been shown at the Fluid Design Forum, University of Montenegro Faculty of Fine Arts, Cetinje, and during the Artist Talk at the Department of Digital Art, Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade, in autumn 2020.