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Artwork Re-Sells Itself Weekly On eBay

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the schmirst-sale dept.

The Almighty Buck 372

Lanxon writes "How much would you pay for a piece of artwork that you could only own for a week? 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 embedded Internet connection, which, according to the artist's conditions of sale, must be live at all times. Disconnections are only allowed during transport, says the creator, Caleb Larsen. Larsen tells Wired UK: 'Inside the black box is a micro controller and an Ethernet adapter that contacts a script running on [a] server [every] 10 minutes. The server script checks to see if the box currently has an active auction, and if it doesn't, it creates a new auction for the work.'" Another condition of sale is that the artist gets 15% each time the piece is sold. Maybe the First Sale Doctrine works differently in the UK.

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Sounds like a pyramid scheme (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876476)

So.. each person who buys this will, in theory, try to do everything they can to make sure that the sale price tops their purchase price (including shipping) by 15%, so as to recoup all their costs. Sounds like a great scam for the artist.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (4, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876522)

The current bid as I write this is $4,250.00, and the "art" in question really is just a black cube. Part of me has to admire the "artist" in spite of myself.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876532)

Yeah, I wish I had thought of that. Great way to generate extra money. I wonder if the art bids its own auction up.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876598)

You know, I know that this sheep shit doesn't exist. I know when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, do you know what I've realized? Ignorance is bliss. But the funny part is, I'm not even in the matrix! It was reality!! I REALLY ATE SHEEP SHIT!!

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876748)

It's even worse than you think: The Matrix was a MOVIE!

Ooookay... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876782)

Yeah, whatever you say, Agent Smith.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876608)

And I'm not surprised that this happens - it was just a question of time before items were starting to behave on their own.

OK - in a limited manner for this item. But I'm just waiting for a self-propelling intelligent device - what we think of as the fictional robots we see in Science Fiction.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876636)

Not unless the artist makes more than one of them.

The market won't bear arbitrary price increases.

Of course, if successful, the more hands the thing changes, the more notorious the piece of art will be, and the greater the value the market will bear...

The difference is a pyramid scheme seeks to involve as many people as possible. With an item such as this, it's only one buyer.

And the terms prohibit pricing the item above what the market will bear.

So there's a great deal of risk involved for the buyer..... the 'value of the item' could go down..

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876674)

The value of the work will almost certainly go down after the initial advertising and notoriety wear off. I could see it continue to be sold, but the price will drop dramatically. In three months, few people are going to want to get involved in a confusing art scheme that 15 other people have already drained the novelty from.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877062)


Yes, but I can see this appealing to a certain mindset. It's like a hot potato - got to pass it on! Last one with it gets the bill!. I can completely see people with certain traits (one of which is money) loving having this in their living room to show off or just look at. Even black cubes can gain value through ephemerity it seems. :)

So it's like a pyramid scheme in the aspect of Devil takes the Hindmost, unlike a pyramid scheme, it's cool! +1 Original for the artist.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (3, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876640)

It is a scam for the artist, but if you read TFA, you will see that it says "give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork". It would be salutary if the value of the work went down, so the vendor could send him an invoice.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876676)

IMHO, scam it is. Listing reported to Ebay.

The terms the seller is attempting to enforce appear to violate eBay's code of conduct for selling artwork.

In particular: "I agree not to knowingly participate in any way in the advertisement or sale of any work of art using any deceptive practices, including, but not limited to, false or misleading claims of the item's scarcity, value, provenance, condition or investment potential."

If eBay chooses to leave it up, so be it. Buyer beware!

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876716)

IMHO, scam it is. Listing reported to Ebay.

Uh, do you even understand what a scam is? The seller isn't scamming anyone here. I think even the slashdot summary is (for once!) pretty clear about the item.

This isn't some kind of mad marketing scheme trying to make millions. It's a funny concept playing with technology and might interest some people for its novelty. Cry me a river.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876890)

Someone take a shit on your cornflakes this morning or are you always like this? How sad.

Re:Sounds like a pyramid scheme (5, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876932)

It's a cube scheme, not pyramid.

so... (3, Insightful)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876486)

If you can only own it for a week, then why the hell would you buy it in the first place?!

Re:so... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876512)

to buy it and throw it in a river to put an end to this stupidity

I'm an idiot (1)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876536)

I should have read TFA. Still, it seems foolish, seeing as you need to sell it for at least 118% of the price you paid for it, just to break even.

Re:I'm an idiot (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876726)

That's exactly what it is. Foolish fun. You should try it some time, it lightens up the day.

Not everything in life is about calculating that "you need to sell it at 118% profit to break even".

Re:I'm an idiot (4, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876786)

That's exactly what it is. Foolish fun. You should try it some time, it lightens up the day.

Not everything in life is about calculating that "you need to sell it at 118% profit to break even".

Looking at the terms of the sale, I'd say that only counts as "fun" if you're a lawyer.

Re:I'm an idiot (1)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876788)

While you have a point, keep in mind that it's something like 4 grand. If you sell it at the same price, you're losing $600 in the name of foolish fun.

Re:I'm an idiot (2)

jellyfrog (1645619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876998)

I thought you read TFA? "they must first pay any fees to eBay and give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value of the artwork"

Hence:
- If you sell at the same price (increase in value of 0), you only lose the amount of ebay's fees
- you only have to sell at the original price + 118% of ebay's fees to break even

Re:I'm an idiot (2, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876794)

If your idea of "fun" is spending thousands of dollars on a useless box and hoping that you'll make your money back in a few weeks ... E-MAIL ME!!! I've got old shoe-boxes that are begging for a loving home.

Re:I'm an idiot (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876832)

If your idea of "fun" is spending thousands of dollars on a useless box and hoping that you'll make your money back in a few weeks ...

Are you talking about my latest gaming pc?

On a more serious note, no, I wouldn't spend that kind of money on such stupid thing. But that doesn't mean someone with the money doesn't find it interesting and fun concept.

Re:I'm an idiot (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876842)

Ok, tell THEM to e-mail me :)

Re:I'm an idiot (3, Interesting)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876958)

You buy it to participate in a cultural phenomenon and interesting concept.

If it were about £20 then I might join in. Hey, that might still happen as the novelty wears off. Just watching the price alone could be an interesting social experiment.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876572)

So you can rip it and upload it to Piratebay.org, of course.

Re:so... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876610)

If you can only own it for a week, then why the hell would you buy it in the first place?!

      Hell, some women charge $50 for only a few minutes. And frankly they are far cheaper than "owning" one long term...

Re:so... (0)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876628)

Not only that, if you look at the "artwork" its self, it's just a glossy black cube. That is the most baffling thing to me about it. The fact that someone would actually pay 4 grand to own an otherwise featureless black cube for a week.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876666)

it's not just a black cube, that shell is not totally opaque all over.

if you look closely you'll see that it contains a few webcams installed just below the seemingly-black transparent shell, arranged so that the webcams have a full 360-degrees field of view.

This is also one of the main reasons why it needs an internet connection 24/7: to stream live video from wherever it's installed.

The internet connection for the artwork is not really needed to re-sell the artwork every week or so because a script on the artist's controller server takes care of that. The artist just has to have a very good contract and enforce re-selling the artwork.

what you're really bidding on is a roaming big brother/peep show device /endtinfoilhatmodenow :p

Re:so... (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876706)

How does the script on the artist's server initiate the new auction on the current owner's ebay account?

Re:so... (2, Interesting)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876810)

More likely it uses a seperate account, and it's rigged up to automatically transfer 85% of the payment to the current owners paypal account, once the thing's been posted. Something like that.

Re:so... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876772)

Now a days "artwork" seem to be mostly about doing weird things and calling that art. An artist in Finland was awarded tens of thousands euros of government art aid for walking this piece [yfrog.com] around a city.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877232)

The fact that you are commenting on what you imply to be stupid, qualifies both the Finnish vagina and the black cube in TFA as art. The artistic expression isn't neccessarily the displayed object itself but what the display do to you. In your case it triggers a knee-jerk response, and that is one of the things these artists are after. The artistic object itself should be useless. You can't use a pice of music for anything, but something happens inside your head when you listen to it. Hence it's art (yes, Britney too!).

You see, humans have this fantastic ability to take an interest in things that you can't eat, reproduce with or sleep in. You should try it some time, after you buy your soul back from the pawnbroker.

Art? (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876496)

Only if the definition of art encompasses EVERYTHING. I like art too much to consider this an example. This is attention-mongering and marketing.

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876514)

It insists upon itself.

Re:Art? (1)

MustardAndPizza (1617631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876590)

The real art here is the way the artist manipulated the terms of service so that the artwork has the ability to change its owner. That idea might be new.

----
One day, I got my signature stuck in my throat. I washed it down with vinegar.

Re:Art? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876606)

This is attention-mongering and marketing.

That's art.

Re:Art? (5, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876634)

Frank Zappa had a good point. He claimed that the only thing art required was a frame -- metaphorical or literal. To make something art, all one had to do was simply put it in a frame -- i.e. declare it to be art. Anything that was created with the purpose of being art is, intrinsically, art.

Of course, as Frank was quick to point out, that doesn't make it good art, or worthwhile art, or a good idea. Just that the artists intent is all that matters as to whether something is art or not.

Re:Art? (5, Informative)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876864)

Frank Zappa had a good point. He claimed that the only thing art required was a frame .

With all due respect to Zappa, it's Marcel Duchamp who understood this first, around 1913.

Re:Art? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876942)

That's a very good point. Turn any object into art merely by signing it and putting it in a gallery.

Re:Art? (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877026)

Research in the forces of the art market has become a legitimate and important occupation of art since Duchamp's time. It's amazing that many people still don't get this, just look at this /. discussion.

Re:Art? (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877100)


Funny thing is, there are two "Art Worlds" that live side by side, rarely interact. One is the high-profile Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin set that create art that is esoteric to the point of mundanity, and the other is the world of paintings, photos, etc. that people actually buy. DeviantArt does a roaring trade. High street art dealers selling local paintings of standard prints do jolly business (outside our current recession, anyway). This latter world of art dwarfs the "Art World" as the media portrays it, is far more familiar to us all, is more popular, and yet is seldom considered by the media. Strange, isn't it, when you think about it.

Re:Art? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877264)

Strange, isn't it, when you think about it.

Not when you consider the people who work in the media. Shock, novelty and outrage are their stock in trade. It's what they understand, so artists who provide these elements get written about. Aesthetic/decorative (for want of a better term) art is more difficult to write about -- there is a fundamental subjectivity involved that is very hard to get past -- and notions of beauty tend to be difficult to explain.

So art criticism, and music criticism, tends to focus on novelty and fashions If you're hip, it doesn't matter if your high concepts are dismally let down because you lack the talent to execute them very skillfully. So Tracy Emin and Animal Collective get on the front pages of the broadsheet culture sections, without very many people actually liking them, while high street art dealers sell local landscape watercolours in far greater quantities.

As the old saying goes: being difficult isn't difficult.

Re:Art? (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877192)

The Q and A from the ebay auction conditions are quite interesting.

Q: Doesn't the first sale doctrine prevent you from collecting further payment past the initial sale of the item?
A: In order to be recognized as a work of art the contract must be adhered to, and regards of who owns it and who buys it the contract remains between the artist and the purchaser, not between buyer and seller.

I wish him good luck in actually getting a court to enforce this.

Re:Art? (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876638)

To be perfectly honest, I find this much more interesting and artistic than a lot of modern "art."

For example, I believe these Blobs of Glass [google.com] are little more than interesting candy dishes (not $20,000+ works of art).

The black cube satisfies a lot of requirements for great art, in my mind.

1) It's different. I haven't seen anything like this before.
2) It is a one-of-a-kind. The market really can't support more than one of these.
3) It generates interest all by itself. (Any market it creates is all self-generated buzz. Most other art is only successful because of heavy marketing campaigns and artist self promotion).
4) It says something about our current society (There are a lot of ways you can interpret this piece).
5) It is a shared experience.

Compare it to the candy dish blobs. They look a lot like things you can buy at Wallymart. There's thousands of them. The artist is mostly successful because of heavy marketing. There's no real interpretations besides "Wow, psychedelic man!" I'm unsure that anyone discusses the artistic genius of the glass-blobs, so I don't feel they qualify as a shared experience.

Re:Art? (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876740)

It's not really a scam, it's a black-box-as-a-service (BBaaS).

I personally look forward to cloud-as-a-service (CaaS).

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876898)

You have perhaps not properly been introduced to art history [swiftandbitter.com] .

Re:Art? (1)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877006)

Art is very easy to define.

For something to be defined as art it has to have no purpose or function other than itself.

Re:Art? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877032)

For something to be defined as art it has to have no purpose or function other than itself.

What does that even mean? "Itself" isn't a purpose.

F1r57 p057 for sale (0, Offtopic)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876508)

This is not a F1r57 p057. It's artwork.

Give me a fucking brake ...

Re:F1r57 p057 for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876546)

This is not a F1r57 p057. It's artwork.

Give me a fucking brake ...

Attempted car analogy?

Re:F1r57 p057 for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876814)

Give me a fucking brake ...

Here you go [filtsai.com]

Re:F1r57 p057 for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876876)

yeeah! those things is tight! i seen them in that "furious and fast" movie with that nigga that played riddick. for reals though blood, that shit was off the hook!

First Sale Doesn't Apply.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876516)

First sale doctorine doesn't apply if you have a contract. If you signed a contract to buy the piece of art, it certainly can have restrictions on what you can do with it. The first sale doctorine rather applies to limitations imposed by copyright, ie: the right for the copyright holder of something to sue you, even though you don't have a contract, because you sold it again.

Re:First Sale Doesn't Apply.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876904)

First sale applies to sales. If it doesn't apply, you're not buying, you're renting. This piece of "art" may be in violation of eBay rules if it pretends to be for sale but really isn't.

Erm....15 % each time its sold? (5, Informative)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876518)

according to the article '....give Larsen 15 percent of any increase in value ...', which is slightly different to what the story summary implies. I wonder, should the value decrease, does the seller get 15% back of any decrease?...I guess not!

Re:Erm....15 % each time its sold? (2, Funny)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876678)

I'm sure the new auction starting price is the current "value" of the art piece. So it will never sell for less than it has before, it just won't sell. So it can get stuck at one museum forever, but it won't actually be sold for less than before.

I'm sure a portion of the 15% paid is used by the artist to defray the eBay auction fees.

Not 15% on every sale (3, Informative)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876526)

TFA says that the artist gets 15% of the INCREASE in value, not 15% of the entire value.

Re:Not 15% on every sale (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876654)

Yeah... but eBay gets a percentage of every sale... listing fees plus final value fees.

For a $3000 item, the seller loses over $100 in eBay fees, before even considering PayPal's charge.

And then there's shipping. So the seller will definitely want to sell at a higher price, just to break even.

And yet if they sell at a price just enough higher to cover their fees, the artist wants 15% of that.

So they need to meet an even higher price to break even after the eBay, PayPal, shipping fees AND the artist's 15% of the appreciation (So that Sales Price - Costs - Artists fees > 0).

Re:Not 15% on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877198)

I read the intent of the clause as "15% of any profit made on the resale" and I'm fairly certain the artist would agree to exclude ebay fees from the "increase in price" bit.

Bragging rights.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876540)

The purchaser also gains the right to claim the title of "The worlds most obvious sucker"....

Re:Bragging rights.... (4, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876622)

The purchaser also gains the right to claim the title of "The worlds most obvious sucker".... ...but only for one week.

Re:Bragging rights.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876938)

The purchaser also gains the right to claim the title of "The worlds most obvious sucker".... ...but only for one week.

Didn't PT Barnum say there was an modern art fan born every minute?

Re:Bragging rights.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877108)

Unless no one bids, in which case they get to keep the title for another week.

Clever way to circumvent first sale. (3, Interesting)

sprior (249994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876632)

He doesn't claim you don't have a right of first sale to the raw object, he's just saying that if you don't adhere to the contract then the object loses its value as a work of art and will no longer recognize it as his legitimate work of art. So while you have whatever rights the law gives you to the raw materials, but he is controlling the use of the concept which is what anyone who would buy this thing is actually interested in.

A bit twisty, but if you're into that sort of thing it could work for you. I think every week is a bit much, makes it potentially not worth the effort to deal with it. I'd think at least quarterly would be the way to go.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (2, Insightful)

onnel (518399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876642)

Remember, the current owner sets the starting price, so if you really wanted to hold on to it for a while and not sell, just set a very high starting price. As long as no one meets it, you keep the art.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (1)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876732)

The contract requires you to set a starting price that's in line with its current value.

There's a lot of ways you can screw with this. People are going to be pissed if they get it 2 days before its new auction ends.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876888)

The only way this could happen is if it got a new internet connection after it had been reported as "sold". Transit time does not eat into anyone's ownership week. Depending on the complexity of the server-side script, it may have geographical tracking (to make sure the old owner hasn't just given it a new connection), perhaps even correlating it against the new owner's reported address. You'd have to go to a lot of effort to piss the next owner off.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876846)

There is however the nasty little fact that Ebay charges fees based on the starting price. So you'd lose money either way.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876776)

personally i think that if you are into that sort of thing then you've been to too many dinner/cocktail parties with people more clever than you are.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (2, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876778)

So you buy it, smash it and post a video of you doing that on youtube... declare that to be art - performance art... plus declare that the individual pieces have become new, unique individual pieces of artwork based on some bullshit premise you spew... and thus you have create some kind of meta-meta art.

And also declare it as the world's first anti-art, on the basis that your "work of art" magically transformed it from art to not-art due to the original artists assertion that it would no longer be his art...

Then sell these rare, valuable fragments of your meta art anti-art individually on ebay.

Re:Clever way to circumvent first sale. (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876862)

Maybe by purchasing it, and filling the ethernet port in with epoxy, you're creating a NEW work of art, that makes just as much of a statement as his did.

business model for the information age (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876646)

Would make an interesting sales model for a self-replicating machine.

Buy it. Use it to make as many copies as you can in a set period of time. Then you have to re-sell it and send a percentage of the profits back to the originator.

Stupid cube art. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876660)

Some famous artist once exhibited a metal cube about 1m on a side. He was based in New York, and one day, driving through New Jersey, he saw a sign that said "You design it, we fabricate it". So he called them and ordered a 1m cube of solid steel. It was explained to him how much this would weigh. So he settled for a cube of sheet metal on a frame. The cube was duly fabricated and drop-shipped to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

That was in the 1970s, when it was at least an original idea. As late as the 1990s, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was showing a Plexiglas cube held together with tape. That was embarrassing. (When SFMOMA started, all the money went into their building, and the permanent collection was awful. It's since improved, but it's still far behind NY and LA.)

As Frank Lloyd Wright pointed out, you can have very simple geometric forms, but the materials and finishes must be very well chosen.

It is art... (3, Insightful)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876672)

...the art of making something (money) from nothing (black piece of plastic with a couple microchips built-in). Also could be considered the art of the pyramid scheme. Then again, the only people who would buy this probably have too much money anyhow, so at least it goes some distance towards the redistribution of wealth.

Re:It is art... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876744)

Say what you will about it, but there is nothing about this that makes it a pyramid scheme. For starters, there's no pyramid.

Re:It is art... (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877126)

We may call it an obelisk scheme, then.

This is called "weekly renting" (1)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876690)

Your weekly fee is 15% of its market value (minus eBay fees) and you support possible market value gain/loss. But this is also the occasion for a new piece of art. Since it is allowed to keep it unplugged when travelling, constantly ship it to yourself again and again.

It's the perfect scam! (2, Insightful)

DigitalJer (1132981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876696)

That's uh, all I really had to say

Re:It's the perfect scam! (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876838)

Yeah, a black lacquered cube is not something that's hard to for many people make themselves. The restrictions on it negate any of the novelty that its electronic functionality might have. And seven days just isn't much time to "enjoy" an object that's priced at $2700, and assuming you sell it at the same price, you paid $650 in fees (15% to "artist", 10% to eBay + PayPal fees) for the favor of having it for a week.

The suggestion that it's somehow going to appreciate in value to offset the fees and make the reseller a profit on top of that is an interesting fantasy. Maybe if the resale stipulation was once a year, but that's optimistic too.

First Sale does not apply. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876758)

First Sale is a copyright issue. It does not apply where there is a prior agreement to the sale between seller and buyer.

Barring something completely ridiculous, two parties can make any agreement they want about a copyrighted work, as long as it is prior to sale, and First Sale will not apply.

Re:First Sale does not apply. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876872)

That is only true if the laws of the buyer's country say so. Not everything you put into a contract is binding if the law says otherwise. Not every country regards physical objects as licenseable with regard to copyright.

The whole thing sounds more like a study object for lawyers than artists.

Arduino (2, Interesting)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876764)

I assume the box contains one? Has he opened up his source already because this would certainly qualify as commercial use. Think I'm gonna steal this idea though and implement in the black boxes of airplanes. At least they will an excuse when they kind find it next time a plane crashes. Anyway, I anyone wants to bid on this auction, please contact me first. I am willing to rip you off for half the price. (Excluding taxes)

Re:Arduino (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876770)

No more beer for santax; kind = can't (oh how I wished they gave me an edit-button)

Re:Arduino (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877220)

Maybe I missed something, but a piece of electronics assembled by an artist doesn't require an arduino fitted to it by default. Arduino is not the only solution, and certainly not the best

What's so special about that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30876834)

I've more than once seen that a seller purchased the offered product about a week before. This happens especially for strange things. Strange things are very similar to art. The reason for buying and selling seems to be simple curiosity.

The only difference now is that it's enforced by the thing itself.

All I'm gonna say is... (1)

Evil.Bonsai (1205202) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876858)

...it better pack/box itself, bring itself to the shipper and pay it's own shipping fees after it sells itself automatically, otherwise, it's going to stay on the shelf where it belongs. /not that I'd every buy such a stupid NOT-ART object, anyway. //dammit why didn't I think of this!?

It's kind of funny... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876946)

The buyer terms attempts to circumvent first sale, by stating the agreement is between the buyer and the artist, regardless of whoever the seller is.

And if the terms are violated the item ceases to be a work of art

I don't know... this may be perfectly valid. But it still sounds really funny.

It's like selling someone a painting, with an agreement... that if they sell it to another person that other person has to make an agreement with the original painter.

And if they fail to follow the terms, the item ceases to be a painting.

So yeah... the terms are funny in a kind of absurd way.

I suppose if the terms are violated for the self re-selling piece, though, it does cease to be a re-selling piece... so there's some uniqueness there.

However I say it's still a piece no matter what!

A piece of _____________. (What goes in the blank is up to you)

Re:It's kind of funny... (1)

mhotchin (791085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876984)

Happens all the time in real estate. Home Owner's Association.

Each seller is obligated to include in the sale contract that the buyer must include in their (future) sale contract etc etc etc.

Re:It's kind of funny... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877046)

That's because, in real property there is a special type of thing that is legally permitted called a restrictive covenant, or a "covenant running with the land". The restrictions or promises get added to the deed or title itself in the form of deed restrictions and apply regardless of owner..

Those are different from contracts, and possible because of the real property law, and what deed means.

Even then, deed covenants may be removed or expunged through the courts by way of (possibly expensive) legal action from the landowner. Exclusionary covenants such as "no people of a certain race" have been found to be illegal and may simply be ignored without consequence.

However... despite the deed restrictions: no deed covenant I have known ever said any thing like this piece of land ceases to be a piece of land or this building, ceases to be a house, and instead becomes worth just the price of its materials, in case the deed covenant is violated.

Price dynamics (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876986)

Wonder how the dynamics would change if you were allowed to own it longer and longer for each resale, say +1 day for every time it changes hands.

Pass-the-parcel (3, Insightful)

ctid (449118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877012)

To everyone saying "scam" and "this will never work" and "this is not art": this auction and event is clearly not for you. I think it is for all those people who played and enjoyed "pass-the-parcel" as a childhood game. In this case, it is like playing pass-the-parcel in reverse. Remember, everyone who "buys" the work still has the right to "sell" it afterwards and this can go on until the value of the art drops. The person still holding the parcel in that situation is unlucky as s/he will lose money. So long as the artist stays in vogue or becomes more established, people will make (small amounts of) money on each transaction - up to a point. It's just a piece of harmless fun for those people who can afford to risk up to £2500 on a scheme like this. I agree with those who say that the artist should have gone for a monthly or quarterly rather than a weekly scheme. But I wouldn't think that their aim is any more than illustrating a principle.

Re:Pass-the-parcel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877234)

This, so this, best example yet.

It is a game of casual risk for those with disposable income, slightly thrilling but not over the top.

RETARDED SHIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877016)

THIS IS A FUCKING RETARTED PIECE OF SHIT. THIS ISN'T ART BUT A FUCKING ATTENTION WHORE BITCH. SUCK MY ASS BITCHES.


filter error:don't use so many caps. its like yelling... to bypass filter filter error:don't use so many caps. its like yelling... to bypass filter filter error:don't use so many caps. its like yelling... to bypass filter filter error:don't use so many caps. its like yelling... to bypass filter

Does it open? (3, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877044)

Wow. The current bid sits at US $4,250.00 with six unique bidders.

Somehow, based on the posts here, I don't think that number is going to increase as a result of exposure on Slashdot.

My highschool art teacher had a special scowl when he told us about the commonly heard phrase among the plebes, "I may not know anything about art, but I know what I like." I tended to think that this is one of the more sensible statements I'd ever heard, but then I didn't get stellar grades in art class. I wonder if he'd be up for a black cube of doom?

From the FAQ. . .

Q: If I were to buy this, how long could I expect to own it before it sells itself again?
A: It is hard to say. Like any commodity it is subject to demand. It could be moments or years. The perpetual state of uncertainty and the instability of ownership are primary components of the work.

Hm. That's actually kind of neat. I can see the appeal for the art community. Nice jorb. --Though, for the rest of us, the same feeling can be achieved at discount simply by contemplating the EULA on a piece of software. You own the disk, but do you OWN the disk? The mind reels!

Now THAT's art!

-FL

Re:Does it open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877122)

"Now THAT's art!"

Not any more than shit in cans, a discarded chewing gum on the pavement or a witty quote on a t-shirt that gets boring the second time you read it.

It's art in the sense that you can simply define ANYTHING as art by using big words and sounding pretentious.

Power (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877124)

Cool cube and a nice experiment.

How is it powered?

!art (1, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30877142)

It's not artwork. It's just a computer in a black cubic case.

How long ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30877244)

... before Apple sues artist for copyright infingement?

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