Friday, June 22, 2007

Now THIS is truly phenomenal...

Every now and then I hit up Oh Gizmo's website just to see what crazy new contraptions people are coming up with to sucker unsuspecting buyers into spending their hard-earned cash on. Now some of these shiny objects are certainly fun and entertaining (like the AUR Robotic Lamp) and there are some that I would LOVE to have in my home to keep me amused during the times my brain requires ... uhm ... something shiny to look at and giggle about. But most of them are completely ridiculous... like the vacuum shoes.

But here's one that brought home the true nature of human ingenuity and it's thirst to deprive mankind of it's mind via man's own devices of frailty. It is The Black Cubes project. There are links from there to all kinds of information about this project, but basically it's a man who has decided to create 999 black cubes, individually numbered with certificates of authenticity, seal something up inside each of them and sell them with the instructions "Don't open them until they are all sold."

From his own website, the author states:
  • 999 black wooden cubes
  • The shape, appearence and dimensions of all the 999 cubes are exactly the same
  • Inside every cube there is something...
  • This thing has a precise sense while is closed in the cube
  • If you open the cube the meaning of this thing is irreparably lost
  • The only way to take possession of this meaning is to be inside the cube...
  • ...But this is obviously impossible!
Now, the guy says that when all the cubes are sold, there will be instructions for all those who bought one to open them and the "second phase of his art project" will begin. Again, from his website:

I'm making 999 wooden black cubes. Every cube has the same shape, appearence and dimensions (every facet is 20 cm.). The strange thing is that there is something inside the cube!. But nobody can take possession of its real sense, because if the cube is opened this sense is lost irreparably. The cube is the material representation of human curiosity.

I imagine a man, sitting on his sofa, drinking a cup of tea: every fortuitous glance at the cube brings always the same question: "What does it contain?"

For some people i have met in my life, this question can become a real torture. And that's because the curiosity is one of the strongest human feeling.

I think at curiosity in its deepest sense as the source of every human action and thought. Every human discovery, for example, is an effort that starts from a curiosity about something.

In this deep sense the thing inside the cube is a representation of the Absolute. A good definition of Absolute can also be "something that doesn't draw its reality from the fact of being perceived". Curiosity is paradoxical and comes from the useless hope to perceive the Absolute.

But this is only ONE side of my art project. Another thing will happen when i will have sold all the cubes. For now i can only say that the "content" of the black cubes will change the meaning of my project.
  • There is a reason for the number of the cubes, 999. If i sell a good number you will know it
  • What is it inside the cubes? I can only say that there is something different for every cube, that make your cube unique;
  • You can't get its sense if the cube is opened (that means breaking it).
  • Every cube is a part of an unique project
  • Something else will happen to my project some day (when i have sold all cubes)
Now, based on what I've already seen... according to OhGizmo's research, #54 costs 83 dollars and each cube is 50 cents more than the one before it. That being the case, this means the cube #1 was $56.00 and cube 998 (the last one he's selling) will be sold for $555.00.

What does this make the total draw for selling 998 mystery products? A cool $304,639.50. This, of course, is a gross amount and not adjusted for shipping, materials, packaging and whatever else it is that he's putting in these things . Still tho, I can't imagine that taking much. There's also no telling what could be in these things. Keys to a car? A baggie of dog poop? Anthrax? His underwear? Who knows? It's the SHEER GENIUS of selling a promise to just under a thousand suckers.

Of course... if you're any sort of out-of-the-box thinker at all... you know this happens all the time, every day, everywhere anyway... this guy's just being a little bit more obvious about it than most. Best part? 76 cubes have already been sold. All hail human nature.


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