Object that sells itself

Posted by Rob Walker on January 23, 2010
Posted Under: Artists,Things/Thinking

For sale right now on eBay: “A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter,” described as “a work of art … which consists of a black box that places itself for sale on the auction website ‘eBay’ (the “Auction Venue”) every seven (7) days. The Artwork consists of the combination of the black box or cube, the electronics contained therein, and the concept that such a physical object ‘sells itself’ every week.” The artist is Caleb Larsen.

Before you bid, you have to agree to terms (see the listing) which basically boil down to the imperative that you must let the object go back on sale on eBay, a week after your winning bid. If it sells for more than you paid for it, you pay the artist a 15% commission on your profit. If it doesn’t sell, you can keep it — but it will try again in a week. Basically you can the thing for as long as it doesn’t appreciate in value. (“Any failure to follow these terms without prior consent of Artist will forfeit the status of the Artwork as a legitimate work of art. The item will no longer be considered a genuine work by the Artist and any value associated with it will be reduced to its value as a material object and not a work of art.”)

Bidding is currently at $4,250.00.

(I learned of this via Metafilter. Reading deep into the comments I find that Murketing.com played an indirect role in the realization of Stephanie Syjuco’s “Temporal Aggregate / Social Configuration (Borrowed Beuys)” piece, which involved recreating a Beuys sculpture with objects she borrowed; evidently one of her lenders read about it here — resulting in a very, very rare moment when I sort of maybe think this site is worthwhile.)

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

I’m curious about what happens when technology does what it does best & fails, either it stops transmitting, or there’s a glitch with the machine, or with ebay, etc

Has the artist thought about different use-cases beyond those mentioned above?

Written By erica on January 24th, 2010 @ 2:27 pm
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