The past week was very interesting, we saw big announcements; we have a new Pope, Samsung revealed the new Galaxy 4 and Google killed Google Reader. The last one of these announcements is the one I would like to talk about because it represents and reflects the changing times we are living in right now. Abduzeedo started in 2006, it was the boom of the Web 2.0. Social sites like Slashdot, Digg and Delicious (del.icio.us), Flikr were the king. Twitter was 2 years away from really becoming mainstream and Facebook was still cool.
The Zwatch Project
Zwatch is an online community and multimedia art project about zombies. Created by Alexander Laccarino and his Zteam in 2009, Zwatch launched in the Quad Cities of the Iowa/Illinois area following a fictitious story of a local zombie outbreak. The unsuspecting public took the project seriously and madness ensued.
In the summer of 2009, Zacharia Furio, a 21-year-old from Davenport, Iowa, was working for the Quad City Department of Biological Sciences, when he suddenly disappeared. His brother launched a website, www.zwatch.org, to help in finding his missing brother, who was suspected of being the subject of testing on a man-made strain of viruses. After the site displayed redacted police files, missing person's reports and other documents, the local media took interest.
The site questioned authority. The story was off and running.
Over time, a series of documentary shorts, photographs, more official documents and articles from a “lone wolf” reporter flooded zwatch.org, in addition to hundreds of emails, blog posts/comments about Zacharia, his whereabouts, revealing a cover-up, Zacharia's infection and eventual return home.
Still, people questioned whether it was real. In the end, it wasn't. At least, not entirely. It was the creation of Alexander Iaccarino and a group of cohorts and artists known affectionately as the “Z-Team”.
My latest project, zwatch.org, began as a viral hoax of a zombie outbreak and cover-up in the Quad Cities to promote my Halloween event, The Zombie Pride Parade. And how it ended was a different story, one best told by fellow zombie and friend, Ryan Collins.....
This past Halloween, something happened in the Quad Cities. Something about a missing person, an Internet hoax, an H1Z1 virus, and the threat of artists going to jail for their craft. Something…undead. Zombies and their related ephemera are a cultural phenomenon, ever-present in books, cinema, video games, etc.
Check out the the whole story on this controversioal and groundbreak project at http://www.thatkidwhodraws.com/zwatch.html.