Sullivan said he wanted to create an urn that was visually interesting, allowed some user interactivity and referenced the physical body. He decided that his remains will be integrated into a computer processor. A virtual agent running on the computer that contains his ashes will scour the web for mentions of his name. As the mentions increase, an on-screen image of Sullivan will morph into an image of his younger self. But if the mentions decline, Sullivan’s image will age, deteriorate and eventually fade away.
In the gallery, a prototype Ego Machine is presented on a computer display. Sullivan realized that since this is a project in perpetuity its results might be imperceptible during a brief visit to the gallery. To make it more interesting for viewers, Sullivan decided to allow people to consciously feed or starve his ego, either at the gallery or online.