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Search and Immortality

By - February 16, 2005

HydriolastI’ve riffed on it before. At a New Orleans based exhibition, an artist has taken it one step further. Wired reports.

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.

(thanks, Philipp)

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