The Tool to Deceive and Slaughter

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A significant objet d'art

We’ve mentioned a few other art projects that use eBay as a platform or medium. The idea-based artist Caleb Larsen’s A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter is a fun one. It’s a significant object — a sculpture, supposedly, though it looks pretty much like a black box with wires running into it — that forever attempts to auction itself on eBay.

From Larsen’s website: “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.”

A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter is listed on eBay this week with a starting price of $6,858.00.

Going once, going twice...


Joshua Glenn is an editor, publisher, and a freelance writer and semiologist. He does business as KING MIXER, LLC. He's cofounder of the websites HiLobrow, Significant Objects, and Semionaut; and cofounder of HiLoBooks, which will reissue six Radium Age sci fi novels in 2012. In 2011, he produced and co-designed the iPhone app KER-PUNCH. He's coauthored and co-edited Taking Things Seriously, The Idler's Glossary, The Wage Slave's Glossary, the story collection Significant Objects (forthcoming from Fantagraphics), and Unbored, a kids' field guide to life forthcoming from Bloomsbury. In the '00s, Glenn was an associate editor and columnist at the Boston Globe's IDEAS section; he also started the IDEAS blog Brainiac. He has written for Slate, n+1, Cabinet, io9, The Baffler, Feed, and The Idler. In the '90s, Glenn published the seminal intellectual zine Hermenaut; served as editorial director and co-producer of the pioneering DIY and online social networking website; and was an editor at the magazine Utne Reader. Glenn manages the Hermenautic Circle, a secretive online community. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons. Click here for more info.

3 thoughts on “The Tool to Deceive and Slaughter

  1. Sorry, I missed it on Murketing. I heard about it last week from someone who no doubt heard about it from Murketing!

  2. I think it’s a really interesting experiment, but when I posted about it on the Consumed FB page (thinking it could be a good column topic at some point) it got very little reaction. I expected to see it written up a lot, but to my knowledge it hasn’t been. Maybe its time has now come?

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