Artist Caleb Larsen’s latest creation, A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter, isn’t likely to appeal to traditional art collectors, who tend to like to hold onto their purchases for a little while. That’s because Larsen’s black cube is programmed to try to re-sell itself as soon as a new owner takes posession — and buyers are contractually obligated to let it do so.
Larsen describes the object as existing in an “eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself.”
Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.
If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.
So. what happens if a new owner decides to break the cycle and refuse to plug the box in? According to Larsen, that would sever his connection to the work. It’ll still be a work of art, he says, but it won’t be his work anymore.
A bigger question might be how often the work can be resold before it’s priced out of the market. Larsen takes a cut of each sale, and the starting price is automatically based on the previous sale. After changing hands twice, A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter is currently listed for $6,858 on eBay. With zero bids.