What 100 Yen Will Get You These Days

To be filed under “wow, that’s really fascinating” is Eric Van Hove’s upcoming art project in Tokyo, Off The Record.” The rundown is that there are these new lockers in Tokyo subways that, instead of opperating with a key, they can only be accessed by using the text messanging feature on an individual person’s telephone. That’s strange enough, but Van Hove is taking it one step further by having a piece of artwork storred in a locker that becomes both a) very exclusive, as you have to know someone who knows the code to text and the specific location, and b) any time you want to see the piece(s), you’ll have to pay the locker fee to see it. Ingenious use of public space and technology, thinks we. Here’s the scoop:

The recently installed X-CUBE locker system will be hijacked to allow multiple users to exchange packages by using a touch screen and their cell phone numbers as digital-keys. The project simply substitutes the package with an artwork or installation. Existing entirely in transitional public spaces, the show nevertheless remains hidden and visible solely within a private network: a person who has gained access to the work can only invite someone else to view it whose cell phone number they already have.

The curator or the artist places the artwork, then invites the first person to the show by registering his cell phone number with the X-CUBE©, and calling him to confirm. In the following hours, the invited viewer arrives at the station, uses his phone to unlock the locker-turned-gallery-space and pays Â¥100 to view the work. He then invites the next person by registering a new cell phone number and calling to confirm, and so on…