Our discussion the last few weeks on the commodification of art is the central idea behind a piece of art I recently heard about on the NPR program “On The Media.” The following description comes from Caleb Larsen’s website on his piece “A Tool to Slaugher and Deceive”:
Combining Robert Morris' Box With the Sound of Its Own Making with Baudrillard's writing on the art auction this sculpture exists in eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself on eBay.
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.
In this piece the raw material from which the “Art” is created is created is the commodification itself – the transactions. If not for these transactions it would be nothing more than what Larsen describes as “just a collection of parts.”
The piece is interesting to think about in light of last week’s essay “What Children Say.” It is certainly “made up of trajectories and becoming” as it physically moves around the world every time it is purchased. And it will continue to do so in perpetuity, constantly becoming. This may be a rather crude and literal interpretation of Deleuze, but this piece (again, titled “A Tool to Slaughter and Deceive”) is nothing if not crude.
I’m still undecided on my personal feelings about it, but I felt that it is a worthwhile work to discuss given our current discussions, and am certainly interested in everyone else’s thoughts.