I really dig conceptual artwork like this:
How much would you pay for an artwork that you could only own for a week? Well, the current price for artist Caleb Larsen's piece stands at $2,600 (£1,610) and its eBay auction is to run for another 6 days 8 hours.
A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter, 2009, is a black, acrylic box that places itself for sale on eBay every seven days thanks to an internet connection, which, according to the artist's conditions of sale, must be live at all times. Disconnections are only allowed during transportation, says the creator.
Larsen tells Wired.co.uk: "Inside the black box is a micro controller and an Ethernet adapter that contacts a script running on server ever 10 minutes. The server script checks to see if box currently has an active auction, and if it doesn't, it creates a new auction for the work. The script is hosted on a server to allow for updates and upgrades if and when the eBay API (the interface used for 3rd party programs to talk to eBay) changes."
The technology is designed specifically so that the buying and selling process could carry on ad infinitum, suggests Larsen, who adds that, if eBay "dries up and disappears, then another platform, either propriety or public, can be used for the selling."
However, the process is also reliant on purchasers agreeing to stringent rules. There are, in fact, 18 terms listed on the eBay auction site, although Larsen is confident that buyers will comply because they could make money by doing so.
Here's how it works. The purchaser can set a new value for the artwork, which must be based on "current market expectations" of Larsen's work, and which could be considerably more than the price they paid. When A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter decides it wants to be sold again, bidders will start their battle at the value set by the current owner.
This is where the art collector could make money. However they must first pay any fees to eBay and give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork.
Speaking to Wired.co.uk from Tullum, Mexico, Larsen expressed his confidence that his black box will continue to rise in value. This is, after all, how he will make money, and is the premise of this project and that of some of his past works. These include the Donor Plaque, for which Larsen asked for donations to pay for an artwork and then made the list of these names his finished piece. But will the Tool to Deceive garner the same interest?
Larsen says that responses so far have been generally positive but it will be in six days and seven hours that the artist will see whether his impish bid to make money by combining technology, the internet and art has paid off.